Blazer Files Ethics Charges Against Warner, Bin Hammam

Send lawyers guns and money cause the shit has hit the fan.

Stunning is the only word that comes to mind when describing todays' news out of Zurich.

FIFA Executive Committee member Chuck Blazer, in a mind-boggling move, has forwarded accusations of ethics violations against CONCACAF President Jeck Warner. FIFA Vice President and Presidential candidate Mohammad Bin Hammam and two Caribbean Football Union officials, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester to FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke.

(Minguell is the assistant to CFU General Secretary Angenie Kanhai, while Sylvester manages smaller events and competitions. Of course what they really are is two puppies who are about to be trampled by elephants.)

In turn, Valcke has sent the complaints to the Ethics Committee, which today opened a formal investigation. Bin Hammam and Wartner must respond by Friday and have been ordered to appear before the full committee next Sunday.

That whole "American Hero" thing suddenly doesn't seem so insane, does it?

Not a great deal is known about the specifics involved, except that the charges relate to activities which went on during that two day meeting in Port of Spain after Bin Hammam was denied a US Visa and could not attend the CONCACAF meetings in Miami.

At the T&T meeting, which was, you will recall, attended only by CFU members, Blazer says that a number of FIFA rules were violated, including, according to Valcke, the ones relating to "bribery".

The charges which Blazer sent to FIFA included affadavits from witnesses.

Reportedly, Bin Hammam and Warner have both been suspeded pending the outcome of the hearings.

So the question you're asking yourself now - after, of course, the obligatory "Holy Shit" moment - is "Does this mean Blazer has finally turned on Warner?"

And I wish I had an answer.

I find it next to impossible to believe that after all these years of carrying water for Jack Warner that Blazer would blow the whistle on him.

On the other hand, Blazer is the consummate politician and if nothing else this makes him Sepp Blatters' BFF like nobody else on Earth.

In any case, if there's one thing I'm sure of it's that if a guy as savvy and professional as Blazer is taking a shot at Warner, then he's really got the goods. It's the old "If you're shooting at a King you'd damn well better hit him" story.

One thing is certain: Bin Hammam's campaign for the Presidency of FIFA is as dead as Julius Caesar.

What's unclear - well OK, another one of the many, many things which is unclear - is how this might impact the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid.

Bin Hammam was in the middle of all of that and it's recently come to light that Qatars' official Bag Man was employed as an assistant by Bin Hammam for many years.

(The guys' name, incidentally, is Amadou Diallo, which caused me to do a double take for obvious reasons. The image of Big Mama skulking about airports with briefcase full of US $100 bills was too perfect.)

This of course comes on the heels of the interview that Grant Wahl did last week with USSF President Sunil Gulati, which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND to you.

Wahl has Gulati saying that Jack Warner absolutely will not be telling him who to vote for:

"We'll make a decision that's in the best interests of U.S. Soccer and what we think is good for the game internationally. What CONCACAF or the Caribbean Football Union chooses to do will be up to them."

Call it "Gulatis' Declaration of Independence" and join me in standing on our seats shouting approval.

And there's another quote which, I think, demonstrates that Gulatis' comment which followed the "Ask Jack" remark probably meant something entirely different than how it sounded.

In the interview, Wahl quotes the USSF President as saying, in regards to the FIFA election, "we know what we're going to do."

What he's obviously saying - and in fairness, did not make very clear to the reporter in Miami - is simply that he knows how he's going to vote.

What's interesting is that neither time did he use those terms. He didn't say "We know who we're voting for". Rather, both times he very specifically said "We know what we're going to do".

Which seems like an odd construct.

Is it possible that he's going to abstain?

Adding to the intrigue here is the fact that Gulati and Blazer are very old and very close friends, dating from back in the days when they both worked in the Eastern States ODP program as two utterly anonymous functionaries.

Chuck and SUnil hanging out at the Super Bowl

Gulati went on to the World Cup committee, Assistant Commissioner of MLS and finally to USSF President.

Blazer moved on to become Commissioner of the A League, became a USSF Vice President and finally General Secretary of CONCACAF.

So they go back a long ways and have been quietly working hand-in-glove for the better part of 20 years.

SO does all of this add up to something? Beats me.

All I can say for sure is that it's going to be a fun couple of weeks.