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By Reuters

Chuck Blazer, a key figure in a U.S. investigation into soccer corruption, was Thursday banned for life from the sport by its governing body, FIFA.

The former executive committee member, who in 2013 secretly pleaded guilty in the United States to bribery and financial offences, was found by FIFA's ethics committee to have breached rules on loyalty, confidentiality, duty of disclosure, conflicts of interest, offering and accepting gifts and bribery and corruption.

Chuck Blazer.ALI HAIDER / EPA

Blazer “committed many and various acts of misconduct continuously and repeatedly during his time as an official in different high-ranking and influential positions at FIFA and CONCACAF (which governs the sport in North and Central America and the Caribbean)," the ethics committee said in statement.

"In his positions as a football official, he was a key player in schemes involving the offer, acceptance, payment and receipt of undisclosed and illegal payments, bribes and kickbacks.”

Lawyers for Blazer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Through a 2013 U.S. plea agreement, Blazer become a cooperating witness in the U.S. probe, which has engulfed FIFA and pressured the governing body's president, Sepp Blatter, to step down.

The 70-year-old, who has a curly white beard and has in the past tipped the scales at more than 400 pounds, is now in hospital with rectal cancer, type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease.

He was on FIFA's executive committee which awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively, a process which is under investigation by Swiss authorities.