Long-serving Blazer to step down from CONCACAF

The 66-year-old American has served in the post since 1990 and will step down on December 31 of this year, just months after his bribery accusations against former CONCACAF president Jack Warner and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed bin Hammam rocked FIFA. Blazer said in May that Warner and Bin Hammam attempted to bribe Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials with US$40,000 each to vote for Bin Hammam in the FIFA presidential election. Bin Hammam has since been banned for life by FIFA while Jack Warner resigned from the CFU.

In the fall-out to the corruption scandal, Warner’s acting successor Lisle Austin then tried to dismiss Blazer, setting off more disciplinary proceedings, before he was then suspended by FIFA. “I’ve been running a governing body long enough. We’ve been through a little bit of a stagnation period,” Blazer told The Associated Press. “I want to do something entrepreneurial. It was the right time. I wanted to give them notice to let them start to look for somebody.”

Despite leaving his CONCACAF post, Blazer is set to remain on FIFA’s Executive Committee with his current term running through to the middle of 2013. Blazer’s CONCACAF career has seen him move the body’s headquarters from Guatemala City to New York; start the Gold Cup tournament and launch the CONCACAF Champions League.

He has been linked with a post with one of the groups bidding for Major League Soccer’s 20th franchise and he said in a statement released on Thursday that he would “explore new challenges within this wonderful sport”. US Soccer president Sunil Gulati hailed Blazer’s contribution to football over the past 30 years as “unparalleled”. Gulati added: “All of us in CONCACAF owe him a great debt of gratitude for his sustained efforts in helping to take the sport to where it is today. There is no doubt that he will continue to make an impact in whatever role he chooses.”