Chuck Blazer, the disgraced American soccer exec whose corruption admissions set off a global scandal that toppled FIFA President Sepp Blatter, died Wednesday, reportedly in New Jersey. He was 72, the AP reports. At a November 2013 court hearing during which Blazer entered guilty pleas to 10 federal charges, Blazer said he had rectal cancer, diabetes, and coronary artery disease. "I've known Chuck for a lot of years. Sorry about all the issues regarding FIFA, but he was a good man," US national team coach Bruce Arena says. "He helped the sport in the [US]." Soccer corruption had been rumored for years before Blazer accused his boss, CONCACAF President Jack Warner, and fellow FIFA Executive Committee member Mohamed bin Hammam of offering bribes to voters in 2011's FIFA presidential election.
Bin Hammam had been the lone challenger to Blatter, who was elected unopposed to a fourth term after Warner and bin Hammam were suspended. Blatter was elected to a fifth term in 2015 before resigning. But it turned out Blazer's conduct was as corrupt as the actions of those he accused. A 2013 CONCACAF report said Blazer "misappropriated CONCACAF funds to finance his personal lifestyle," including real estate rentals and purchases in New York and Miami. He became a government informant in 2011 and pleaded guilty in 2013 to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, and other charges. He was never jailed as the probe continued, but FIFA banned him from soccer for life in July 2015. "Chuck felt profound sorrow and regret for his actions," his lawyers said in a statement. (Read more obituary stories.)