Bin Hammam questions FIFA ban

Mohamed bin Hammam has questioned the impartiality of the FIFA ethics committee after being provisionally suspended from the organisation.Bin Hammam, President of the Asian Football Confederation, was suspended from FIFA activities along with CONCACAF President Jack Warner on Sunday, pending a full investigation into bribery claims.

Qatari bin Hammam withdrew his candidacy for the FIFA Presidency earlier on Sunday, leaving incumbent Sepp Blatter unopposed ahead of Wednesday’s leadership elections.

Blatter also appeared in front of the ethics committee, concerning charges related to having knowledge of Warner’s alleged attempts at bribery, but the 75-year-old was cleared of any wrongdoing.

“I have been referred to the ethics committee based on evidence which was strong enough in the views of the FIFA General Secretary for such procedure,” a bin Hammam statement read.

“However, the ethics committee in its meeting today did not find this evidence sufficient to convict me.”

“Consequently, I should have been given the benefit of doubt but instead, I have been banned from all football activities.”

Bin Hammam and Warner are accused of giving US$40,000 to delegates at a Caribbean Football Union meeting in Trinidad on May 10 and 11 in exchange for their support in the Presidential elections.

Namibian Petrus Damaseb, brought in by FIFA to oversee the hearing, deemed the evidence sufficient to warrant further investigation.

After bin Hammam and Warner were suspended and Blatter cleared, FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke announced Wednesday’s election would go ahead as planned.

“I have been given the impression that the ethics committee is absolutely an independent committee, but in the press conference we have seen today, the General Secretary made clear that he is the one who has the influence in this Committee,” bin Hammam said.

“I’m very disappointed about the way the status of the proceeding has been presented at the media conference. I am expecting that this will continue. This is not how I understand fair play. I’m reserving all my rights.”