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By ESPN Staff

Blazer welcomes life ban

Chuck Blazer, the man who first blew the whistle on the FIFA bribery scandal, has welcomed the life ban for Mohamed Bin Hammam as a warning to anyone in football tempted to use corrupt means.

• Bin Hammam: I was expecting ban
• Cash was for 'expenses'
• Bin Hammam banned for life

Blazer said the decision by FIFA's ethics committee showed the world governing body would take a ''zero tolerance'' approach to corruption.

Bin Hammam has already said he will appeal against the ban, imposed after the ethics committee found him guilty of giving or offering cash gifts totalling around one million US dollars to the 25 members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).

Blazer, the USA's FIFA member and general secretary of the CONCACAF confederation, first instructed lawyers to gather evidence of the bribery claims after being told of the cash gifts by the Bahamas FA.

The two FIFA members implicated were Bin Hammam and Jack Warner, who had the investigation dropped last month after he resigned from all football activities.

Blazersaid: ''I learned through some members that cash was being offered to members of our confederation for their votes and to me that's about as bad a situation as I can imagine.

''I believe vote-buying is unacceptable and I felt that had to be said widely and clearly and I am very glad the ethics committee has confirmed that, regarding bribery, we have zero tolerance. It sets a precedent and one that I fully support.

''It's a very good day for football in that it has been demonstrated that the process we adopted five years ago with the ethics code and committee is able to work.

''The fact we have suffered suspensions is sad but it will send notice to anybody else that might be considering that type of corrupt activity that FIFA is not the place to try it.''

Blazer said blowing the whistle was not comfortable; he had sat on FIFA's executive committee with both Bin Hammam and Warner since the early 1990s.

He added: ''I sat next to Bin Hammam for 15 years and enjoyed a very pleasant relationship with him. But when I saw the stuff which was happening, even going back to April 1 when he asked for this curious congress to be held, it made me raise my eyebrows and ask 'What the Hell is going on here?'.

''I had also worked with Jack Warner for 21 years but over the past few years as I looked started to look at certain things I felt very uncomfortable. This was not the way we conducted things in the past.''

Blazer said that credit should also be given to those officials from the Caribbean who came forward and gave evidence.


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