NEW YORK (AP) — FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer said he won't seek re-election for a fifth term and will leave his 16-year position in May.
A CONCACAF representative on FIFA's ruling committee, Blazer is the most senior American official in world football but his departure was expected after his whistleblowing role in a scandal which rocked FIFA in 2011.
Blazer delivered evidence to FIFA of alleged bribery by presidential election candidate Mohamed bin Hammam during a campaign visit in Trinidad. The scandal resulted in longtime CONCACAF president Jack Warner resigning and officials from half its 40 member countries being investigated by FIFA.
Blazer left his job as CONCACAF's general secretary in the fallout. "It is time for new faces with new energy to take over the responsibility of FIFA's leadership," the 67-year-old Blazer said Saturday in a statement.
Blazer announced his exit on Twitter ahead of a Monday deadline for CONCACAF to accept candidates for the FIFA seat representing North America. A contest is expected between Sunil Gulati and Justino Compean, presidents of the U.S. and Mexico football federations, respectively. Both are members of the CONCACAF executive committee.
The election is scheduled on April 19 at the confederation's congress in Panama City. The winner will be installed into the FIFA board on May 31 in Mauritius. In Panama, CONCACAF is expected to publish results of a forensic audit of its accounts commissioned after the longstanding Warner-Blazer leadership era ended.
Blazer was the target of widespread anger last year when members were told about the New York-based body's financial affairs. Though the American was credited with increasing CONCACAF's revenues since the 1990s, officials objected to contract commissions he received which were agreed by Warner.
The hostile meeting in Budapest, Hungary, which Blazer did not attend, revealed lingering bitterness at the American for his whistleblowing role.