Et tu Chuck: Blazer looks to have betrayed his old friend Warner

American's allegations have rocked ruling body but is he a whistle-blower or opportunist?

With his avuncular looks and rambling website where he records his meetings with the rich and famous as he travels the world, Chuck Blazer resembles more of a John Candy character than a cold-eyed insurgent whose actions could yet spark a brutal global civil war among football's ruling sect.

Even the name of the rotund 66-year-old from New York sounds as if he is a satirist's creation – the image of the American sporting bureaucrat, full of hot air, filibuster, and hot dogs. But Blazer's complaint, and one that is reported to be accompanied by further witness statements, that he saw Jack Warner offering gifts to the leaders of a number of Caribbean football associations in return for a vote for Mohamed Bin Hammam in next week's Fifa presidential election is potentially the most damaging that world football's governing body has suffered.

In itself it is a serious allegation against two of the most powerful men in the game, and coincidentally or not, two men who could decide the future of Sepp Blatter as president of Fifa. They both deny the charges, and both point out the coincidence of next week's election in which Bin Hammam and Blatter go head to head in a contest that Warner, with his 35-strong block of Concacaf votes, would expect to have a loud say in.

It follows a slew of other allegations that have cast doubt on the selection of Qatar as the hosts of the 2022 World Cup finals, as well as the probity of a number of the 24 members of the Executive Committee (ExCo) who govern the game. There will almost certainly be more to come, especially with Warner in the firing line. This is not a man to go down without a bloody struggle.

Warner has been here before. In 2006 he was found guilty of breaching Fifa's code of ethics over a ticket scandal involving a family firm and the re-sale of tickets for the 2002 World Cup; yet he remained a member of ExCo. There have been regular accusations, the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet has pursued him for a number of years with a series of allegations over what amounts to ticket touting, while John McBeth, the former president of the Scottish Football Association, claims that Warner suggested monies paid for a game between Scotland and Trinidad and Tobago be given over to him.

Warner, a former history teacher from Rio Claro, a small town on the Atlantic side of the island of Trinidad, has been a survivor not least because his powerbase is so strong. Under his stewardship, Concacaf has grown rich – although that applies to most confederations across the same period – and so has consistently done as he wishes. The region's 35 votes in the Fifa elections, out of 208, are usually delivered en bloc and they have previously gone in Blatter's favour. It was expected that the Swiss incumbent would be on the receiving end again, with Concacaf following Uefa and the African confederation in declaring for Blatter. They were expected to do so during their congress in Miami earlier this month – where Warner was unanimously re-elected as president for another four years – but there was no such statement. A week later it was at a meeting of the Caribbean Football Union that Bin Hammam and Warner are now accused of offering gifts in return for votes.

Even in the often vicious world of Fifa politicking, this is a startling turn of events, and one that is difficult to read. Warner has long been seen as a key Blatter supporter, Blatter is widely tipped to win the election with plenty to spare, and Blazer has long been regarded as part of the Praetorian Guard in Warner's empire. It is an 'et tu Chuck' moment, although there will be little sympathy across the football world.

Blazer is an unusual figure, although as befits the current image of a key player in Fifa he was once described by a US court as delivering evidence that "lacked credibility". It is rare for an ExCo member not to have headed a federation or confederation, and a trawl through his hugely entertaining website creates the impression of a man happily starstruck by celebrity. In Zurich last year he is believed to have backed Russia for the 2018 World Cup and in the weeks leading up to the vote he paid a visit to Moscow after which he wrote a fawning blog entry in praise of Vladimir Putin, and posted a series of photographs of the Russian Prime Minister in full action-man mode.

He is general secretary of Concacaf, a position he took on in 1990, the same year Warner first took the presidency. Blazer claims that under their partnership a turnover of around $140,000 has been transformed into one of close to $40m. Last year when commentating on The Sunday Times' allegations of Fifa corruption, he said: "If it turns out what they are saying is supported by fact, then I would have a lot to say on the matter."

He will have his say later this week in Zurich, but whether his actions are those of a genuine whistleblower, good ol' Uncle Chuck, or somebody rather more opportunistic, hardened by decades in Fifa's greatest game, remains to be seen.

The allegations

Fifa now has two separate corruption allegations to deal with before next week's presidential elections on 1 June.

* Jack Warner, Mohamed bin Hammam and two officials from the Caribbean Football Union face the Ethics Committee on Sunday accused of bribery.

* Fifa (and the FA) are also considering Lord Triesman's bribery allegations against three members of the ExCo, including Warner.

sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballArsenal vs QPR match report
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all