ARLINGTON, Texas — CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer addressed the media for the first time on Sunday evening following the series of off-field events that have shaken up the confederation in the lead-up to its flagship tournament.
Blazer arrived in Dallas in time for the opening matches of the 2011 Gold Cup and spoke at a press conference during halftime of the Cuba-Costa Rica game.
“I recognize that there was great interest certainly in what our activities have been and what has been going on both in CONCACAF and with the Gold Cup,” Blazer said. “I came to assure you that everything is normal, that things are business as usual and that the Cup you see is very much the Cup that you have seen before and the same one that you will see in the future.”
CONCACAF came under fire last week when president Jack Warner was suspended by FIFA following allegations of a bribery scandal involving onetime FIFA presidential hopeful Mohammed bin Hammam of Qatar.
Blazer, who reported Warner’s alleged activities to FIFA, indicated the political climate in the CONCACAF ranks is still in flux, but that a solution is not too far off.
“It’s regrettable at this point, from a political point of view, that there is some confusion that will be resolved,” he said. “I know that FIFA and ourselves will ultimately have this situation resolved and resolved for the better. Right now all I can tell you is that everything is in good hands.
“[FIFA] can have confidence in the future because this is a major effort to do things in the right way. And if we accomplish that at the end of this entire process, then we will have done a lot of good for the right reasons.”
After making public of the scandals rooted in CONCACAF Blazer was purportedly fired by interim president Lisle Austin, who was filling in for Jack Warner.
However, as interim president, Austin did not have the authority to fire Blazer, who has continued in his position as general secretary. In the meantime, a new acting president, Alfredo Hawit, was named on Saturday.
“Everything that you see now is being done at the direction of the executive committee," Blazer said. "I am in place as the general secretary and you will have a wonderful Gold Cup and I want everyone to know that you will have my full cooperation during this entire tournament.”
Blazer was quick to put aside any suggestion that the tournament may be impacted by the political turmoil.
“Today, we have 72,000 tickets sold, and if I look at the ticket sales going forward, it doesn’t seem to be affected,” stated Blazer. “People are not here to watch the politics. People are here to watch the teams on the field. And what we will give them over these next few weeks is great football on the field. I hope they will follow it and enjoy it and have a great time.”