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Former South America federation boss ill amid US charges

Former South America federation boss ill amid US charges

The former president of South America`s football confederation fell ill and was hospitalized in Paraguay on Wednesday as US authorities sought his extradition in connection with a FIFA corruption scandal.

The 86-year-old Nicolas Leoz, who has Parkinson`s and heart problems, took ill upon learning the arrests of seven FIFA officials in Zurich, a spokesman for the hospital in the capital Asuncion told AFP.

The foreign ministry confirmed that the US embassy delivered an extradition request for Leoz, who led CONMEBOL from 1986 to 2013.

The document accuses Leoz of conspiracy to take part or lead "organized crime activities" and planning to profit from illegal activities, the ministry said.

Leoz is among 14 football officials and marketing executives named in a US indictment charging them with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies that span 24 years beginning in 1991.

The officials are charged with conspiring to solicit and receive more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for the support of US and South American sports marketing executives who agreed to make the illegal payments.

CONMEBOL and CONCACAF, the North and Central American and Caribbean federation, said in a joint statement that they reject acts of corruption and "unreservedly support the investigations initiated toward FIFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, and other organizations regarding alleged wrongdoing.

The federations, the statement said, "will agree to collaborate openly and emphatically with such investigations."