Friday, May 25, 2012

Stunning Revelations from CONCACAF

Reuters reports some remarkable details about the scale of corruption in CONCACAF,  Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. Here is an excerpt:
Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer, the former president and general secretary of the CONCACAF confederation, were guilty of financial mismanagement on a grand scale during their years in office, delegates were told at their congress on Wednesday.

New CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb said he was "shell-shocked, dismayed and mad" as the organisation's auditor John Collins unveiled details of the alleged mismanagement to members from the 40 countries of North and Central America and the Caribbean, which make up the confederation.

Collins told delegates that after investigating CONCACAF's finances for the last five months, he could state that under Blazer it failed to declare revenue to the United States Internal Revenue Service for years. Warner registered a $22.5 million FIFA-funded soccer centre in Trinidad to his own name. While Warner left FIFA in disgrace last year, Blazer is still CONCACAF's representative on FIFA's executive committee . . .
Blazer, who heaed up the ostensibly non-profit CONCACAF, took in a hefty salary:
In a statement issued to the media, Blazer said no tax returns had been declared in the United States because CONCACAF was a non-profit organisation, and no profits had been made in the U.S. . .

Blazer said he was "not yet in litigation" to retrieve the payments he was owed but confirmed his contract had included 10 percent of all CONCACAF's TV and sponsorship deals.

The commissions and salary for Blazer totalled between US$4 million and US$5million last year, the meeting was told.
 In 2011 Andrew Jennings revealed that Blazer's take from the 10% deal amounted to about $10 million over the previous 5 years.

CONCACAF's legal council told the federation,
that Blazer had misrepresented CONCACAF before the U.S. Internal Revenue Service from 2007 until 2011. The body, legally based in the Bahamas, keeps an office in the Trump Tower in New York it pays $1 million in annual rent to hold. Collins said “it is difficult to predict” what CONCACAF’s exposure will be as a result.

The IRS is investigating CONCACAF, Collins said, according to the Bloomberg report. CONCACAF makes most of its money in the U.S., and would therefore have to file a Form 990 as a non-profit organization. A representative from the IRS didn’t immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Collins said no tax filings have ever been made in the U.S., according to the Bloomberg report.
Apparently, FIFA will not consider CONCACAF's request to remove Blazer from its Executive Committee due to a technicality in its procedures

The latest relevations from CONCACAF and FIFA's apparent (non)response are yet another black eye for football governance. However, no matter what FIFA chooses to do, it is likely that the US IRS will not be very forgiving, stay tuned.


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