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SBD Global/April 22, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

CONCACAF Accuses Former Leaders Warner, Blazer Of Fraud, Abuse Of Position, Power

Former CONCACAF leaders Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer were slammed as "fraudulent in their management" of the football confederation's affairs by the head of the regional body's Integrity Committee on Friday, according to Simon Evans of REUTERS. CONCACAF Integrity Committee Head David Simmons presented CONCACAF's congress with a detailed report into allegations of financial mismanagement by former President Warner and ex-General Secretary Blazer "based on documents and interviews with 38 people." Former Barbados Chief Justice Simmons said, "I have recounted a sad and sorry tale in the life of CONCACAF, a tale of abuse of position and power, by persons who assisted in bringing the organization to profitability but who enriched themselves at the expense of their very own organizations." The report found that Warner, 70, did not disclose to CONCACAF or FIFA that a $25.9M Center of Excellence "was built on land owned by his companies" (REUTERS, 4/20). In a separate article, Evans wrote CONCACAF hopes the publication of a report citing "fraudulent" activities by its former leadership will mark the turning of a new page for the football body. New CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb said, "The membership was prepared and expected a very damning report but to say that we were expecting this, no. For us, we were shocked and dismayed." The report detailed how American Blazer had used the organization's funds to "finance his personal lifestyle," including purchasing plush apartments in Miami's South Beach and attempting to do the same in the Bahamas. Webb said that "it should be remembered that the cash was supposed to help federations in poor and developing countries in the Caribbean and Central America." Webb: "I see players on a daily basis, kids who can't afford shoes, who can't afford even the basic necessities to play football. We just came from Haiti where football provides an opportunity for those kids. It affected me greatly to know that we have wasted so much" (REUTERS, 4/21). In another article, Evans reported Blazer remains on the FIFA exec committee until the end of the governing body's congress on May 30 "when he will be replaced by newly elected compatriot Sunil Gulati." Members of CONCACAF "urged action at their congress on Friday to get Blazer out of the game earlier" (REUTERS, 4/20).
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