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Will Jeffrey Webb and Aaron Davidson try to bring down USSF?

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It’s difficult to conceive that US Soccer President Sunil Gulati and USSF CEO Flynn had no inkling of CONCACAF corruption. Gulati regularly would have been in contact with Blazer, Warner and Jeffrey Webb, who succeeded Jack Warner as CONCACAF President.

In the meantime, CONCACAF’s dirty deals were mostly being hatched on American soil, with US Soccer at least in theory a direct beneficiary. Traffic Sports’ involvement in securing the Copa America 2016 for the USA and the decision to always hold the tournament on American soil certainly has not hurt the performances or marketability of the US Men’s National Team.

Both Jeffrey Webb and former Traffic Sports USA President Aaron Davidson have pled not guilty to the charges brought against them by Federal prosecutors. But it seems apparent both will attempt to make some sort of plea deal and could have incriminating information about US Soccer officials, maybe even including Flynn or Gulati.

In their plea deals, it’s quite possible that Webb and Davidson will try to throw everything and the kitchen sink at the prosecutors in an attempt to save themselves.

Of course this is speculation, but British journalist Andrew Jennings — who also testified in front of the Senate hearing last week — told Soccer Morning’s Jason Davis on Monday that “Gulati doesn’t want to answer questions about the lifestyle he has,” and that the US Soccer President was used doing things “the Sepp Blatter way.”

Jennings’ reporting about FIFA, though seemingly sensational, proved to be on the money. Let us hope for the sake of US Soccer, his instincts are off base this time. But given Jennings’ track record, clearly there will be some unease around Soccer House and the American soccer community in the coming weeks and months.

SEE MOREYears of Blazer corruption raises serious questions for American soccer

US Soccer is basking in a summer of on-field glory. After capturing the Women’s World Cup, the US men’s team is poised to repeat as continental champions in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. That event, which is essentially a made-for-TV tournament, was at the center of much of the FIFA corruption scandal. The epicenter of the scandal that has engulfed the sport and been a worldwide media sensation was not in Zurich, but in fact on American soil in the offices of CONCACAF in New York and Miami.

Last week, the US Senate panel hearing discussed the FIFA scandal and what US Soccer knew about the corruption in CONCACAF and FIFA. US Soccer President Sunil Gulati elected not to attend. Some have excused Gulati’s absence, which came just ten days after the USA’s triumph in the Women’s World Cup Final and right in the middle of the Gold Cup. In Gulati’s place, Flynn attended the hearing and looked uncomfortable and flustered. He also stated that “we (US Soccer) knew nothing about corruption at CONCACAF.”

Perhaps had the US Senators sitting on the subcommittee been fully briefed on the culture within the world of North American soccer, they would found this claim absolutely incredible. The reality is that whispers of Jack Warner’s corruption and that of Chuck Blazer were ever-present as early as the late 1990’s and were an accepted reality by 2006. By the time the US was bidding on the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, whispers were abound that Chuck Blazer’s massive influence with Sepp Blatter and FIFA might help tip the balance toward the American bid.

Working at the NASL, we had heard rumors that Blazer’s influence within FIFA had helped MLS stave off any opposition within the global game to its single-entity structure and the summer calendar. For the record, I believe both should be permissible but the fact is they were both contrary to FIFA statutes and mandates. The implication was that Blazer’s influence within FIFA allowed MLS the breathing room it needed to do what it wanted whether they were in line with the rest of international game or not.

Aaron Davidson’s federal trial has been adjourned until September 18. Jeffrey Webb is currently out on bond and under house arrest in Manhattan awaiting the next phase of legal proceedings.

 

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Bill Archer

    July 28, 2015 at 11:45 am

    So what, specifically, are you claiming that Sunil Gulati “knew” and when did he”know” it?

    Yes, he has known Chuck Blazer for 30 years. A lot of people have known him for at least that long. Does that mean they also knew about him claiming 10% of a secret bribe that Jack Warner received from South Africa?

    Are you suggesting that Blazer called up Gulati and said “Hey, guess what? I just bagged a cool half million bucks from the Sony deal in Miami, and another million dollar bribe from Traffic Sports. Let’s party, dude!”

    Gulati certainly saw a lot of signs and knew at least as much as most observers knew about what Warner was doing. It was all widely reported. The Haiti relief money, all the rest of it.

    But he had no more actual “facts” than you or I did.

    And no, US Soccer will not be brought down by this stuff. The 2016 Tournament will be held in the US not because Gulati is a crook but because the US is the best place to hold it, just like the Gold Cup. Indeed, from every single aspect it’s basically the ONLY place that makes sense.

  2. NaBUru38

    July 21, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Hello, will you report on the Pan American Games soccer tournaments?

  3. erico

    July 21, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    I like to think I have an informed ‘gut instinct’ and the rumblings in my nether regions are much in line with what is easy enough to read: the whole FIFA thing is about global politics more than it is about soccer, sports, or corruption. Its ludicrous IMHO to think the bigwigs in US soccer raking in the dough aren’t dirty, but is there really any interest in shaking things up? By those with the power to do so? Does a cleanup/accountability really matter when the whole drama isn’t really about that to begin with?

    Plea deals might turn out to be really interesting, the potential is there to get rid of some of the dirty players because a couple of individuals can do so as they try to cover their own behinds. But will it really clean up the whole convoluted incestuous mess? I’m not so sure that’s even possible, just too much money to be made if you’re the flexible type. As we see in just about every aspect of corporate life these days, scum rises to the top.

    I’d like to add my big Thank You along with others for writing about this, a happy surprise given the sickening sycophantic mainstream sports ‘journalism’ that is the norm:)

    • Flyvanescence

      July 21, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      I think i can agree with that. A case of “in with the new boss, same as the old boss” will likely happen, because there is too much money to gain and plenty of people more than happy to ditch any scruples for a large enough sum of money.

      As my father often told me, “People are no . . . good.”

      That doesnt change the fact that most other countries have functioning and effective (if corrupt) federations, while ours barely exists and takes its cues from a league whose owners make most of their money from their NFL teams.

  4. Flyvanescence

    July 21, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I hope that Jennings’ reportings are not off base, because i care about US soccer, not US Soccer. And in its current state US soccer is suffering because of US Soccer.

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