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Sports

Former FIFA member Chuck Blazer admits to receiving bribes

Former FIFA member Chuck Blazer has admitted that he and others members of the sport's governing body received bribes to vote for both the 1998 World Cup in France, as well as the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer told a US federal judge that he and others on the governing body's ruling panel agreed to receive bribes for the selection of both the 1998 and 2010 World Cups. "I knew my actions were wrong at the time," he said.

"I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup," read Blazer's transcript from a 2013 hearing in a US District Court that was released on Wednesday.

"I agreed with other persons in or around 1992 to facilitate the acceptance of a bribe in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup."

Blazer has pleaded guilty to racketeering and other charges.

According to US officials, Blazer's cooperation helped build a complex corruption case that has led to charges against top FIFA figures and helped prompt the resignation of President Sepp Blatter on Tuesday.

The 1998 World Cup was hosted by France but a separate court document contains the allegation that bidding nation Morocco paid a bribe to another FIFA executive and that Blazer acted as the intermediary.

In the case of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the indictment said South Africa paid a $10-million (9-million-euro) bribe to secure the right to host the tournament. The country has confirmed the payment but said it was a donation to support soccer development in the Caribbean, not a bribe.

Blazer served as a FIFA executive committee member from 1997 to 2013 and as general secretary of CONCACAF, soccer's governing body in North and Central America and the Caribbean, from 1990 to 2011. The 70-year-old also accepted bribes for five editions of CONCACAF's premier tournament, the Gold Cup, between 1996 and 2003.

jh/bk (AP, Reuters)