Blazer and Warner could face new FIFA action

PANAMA CITY Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:26am BST

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PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Former CONCACAF leaders Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer could face a fresh investigation and possible sanctions from FIFA after a report alleged "fraudulent" activities by the officials.

Ex-CONCACAF president Warner, who features heavily in the 113-page document, has stood down from all soccer activities and neither he nor Blazer have faced official sanction yet.

Blazer remains on the FIFA executive committee until the end of the governing body's congress on May 30 when he will be replaced by newly elected compatriot Sunil Gulati.

But members of CONCACAF, which represents soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, urged action at their congress on Friday to get Blazer out of the game earlier.

The call, from several delegates from the floor of the congress, was backed by CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb who said he would not want to share a platform with Blazer at the FIFA congress.

"You heard the views of the membership in congress. Mr Blazer is still part of the game and he is still elected until May 30 until the new member is installed at the congress," he told reporters.

"In a personal capacity I would take it very hard after receiving this from the Integrity committee to sit there in front of the world, on the world stage with him as a member of the FIFA executive committee in front of congress."

Webb was flanked at the press conference by FIFA president Sepp Blatter who responded to the Cayman Islander's comments by asking his secretary general Jerome Valcke to explain how FIFA would handle the report.

"I have spoken to the head of legal and he is waiting for the documents to be transmitted to Michael Garcia who is the chairman of the investigatory chamber and he will then deal with the case," said Valcke.

Warner avoided facing a FIFA ethics committee by standing down from all positions in the game but, in theory, he, too, could face sanction if FIFA were to act on the CONCACAF report.

The report found that Warner, 70, did not disclose to CONCACAF or FIFA that a $25.9 million Centre of Excellence was built on land owned by his companies - effectively meaning he owns the facility.

Webb said CONCACAF was taking legal advice about possible action to regain the property.

Blazer received $20 million in compensation from CONCACAF, mostly through commission fees, despite having no contract with the body from 1998, the report states.

The American is also accused of misusing CONCACAF funds to buy two apartments on Miami's South Beach and attempting to buy other properties in the Bahamas using soccer funds.

Warner denied any wrongdoing in a statement while Blazer did not respond to requests for comment.

(Editing by Ian Ransom)

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