After court documents were released today revealing that former CONCACAF General Secretary and US Soccer Executive Vice President Chuck Blazer admitted accepting bribes in the voting for host nations for World Cups 1998 and 2010, as well as bribes involving broadcast rights for five Gold Cup tournaments (from 1996 to 2003), the questions have to be asked: What did US Soccer know about these incidents? And when did they know it?
After all, Chuck Blazer is a man that was so deeply entrenched within the US Soccer machine that in the same year that Blazer resigned from CONCACAF, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, “Everybody who cares about the sport in this country owes [Chuck Blazer] a debt of gratitude.”
Five years earlier, in 2006, Blazer received the Commissioner’s Award from MLS for his “overall contributions to the sport and the game.”
“Chuck is one of the most important people in the history of soccer in this country. Those in the soccer business know how important he is to the development of this sport and management of this sport throughout North America,” Garber said. “Not every American knows that the man behind the scenes pushing this sport is Chuck and for that he is very worthy of being recognized by MLS and by our ownership.”
Garber added, “His support for us started long before his support on television. It’s far deeper than that. It’s not about one specific thing, it’s about what influence he’s had over the last 10 years.
“We have an American that sits at the most influential level in FIFA on the Executive Committee not just representing the U.S. but representing all of the countries within CONCACAF and all of the leagues within CONCACAF. He’s just unbelievably important to where we are today and where we’re going to be in the future.”
In the chaos of the FIFA indictment package that came down last week, the involvement of the United States Soccer Federation has been largely ignored. This is not to say that anyone in the USSF took bribes or kickbacks as those convicted CONCACAF and CONMEBOL executives are accused of doing, but why, aside from the cursory statements from the USSF, MLS and NASL have we not heard from Sunil Gulati or former USSF head Robert Contiguglia in further detail?
Have these men kept quiet because they didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes?
Could it be possible that Gulati was completely oblivious to what Blazer was doing even though, as Charlie Stillitano recently revealed on Sirius XM, that Gulati and Blazer were best friends?