World Football - Bin Hammam launches appeal

Thu, 25 Aug 06:38:00 2011

Banned Asian football president Mohamed Bin Hammam has launched an appeal against his lifetime ban by FIFA but said in a strongly worded statement that he did not expect to clear his name yet despite the decision being 'hugely flawed.'

2011 FIFA Bin Hammam AP/LaPresse - 0

The 62-year-old Qatari was given a lifetime ban from football by the world governing body last month after being found guilty of bribing Caribbean officials during his bid to oust incumbent FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

In a statement on his personal blog, the former Asian Football Confederation president said he had appealed after FIFA released the motivated decisions of the Ethics Committee, who banned him, last week.

"I have submitted my case to the FIFA Appeals Committee, not hoping for justice to prevail but as a protocol to enable me to obtain access to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS)," the Qatari said.

"After all, the panel from the Appeals Committee is decided by my opponent and in this case, as previously, the judge is the rival. Therefore, I should not exaggerate hope for a fair decision.

"Going through the motivated decisions, we found them to be deeply flawed and raises grave doubts on whether any decision-making body of FIFA has sufficient independence to ensure a fair decision based solely on evidence and applicable laws.

"Based on our experiences, we expect the appeal process and decision to take approximately two months, not because this time is necessarily needed but more due to FIFA's tactical games and abuse of power, as evident throughout this case."

Bin Hammam faces a race against time if he wants to return to the role of AFC president, a role he has held since 2002.

Last month, acting president AFC president Zhang Jilong of China said after their executive committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur that they would not be able to replace Bin Hammam until after May 30.

The events that led to Bin Hammam being banned all centered on a meeting of Caribbean officials in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on May 10-11.

Former CONCACAF president Jack Warner, a major FIFA powerbroker, resigned in June after he was also accused of wrongdoing at the meeting.

Like Bin Hammam, Warner was provisionally banned pending the ethics committee investigation into allegations that Caribbean officials were handed $40,000 each in brown envelopes as a sweetener.

Bin Hammam then pulled out of the FIFA presidential race on May 29, leaving Blatter to be re-elected unopposed for a fourth term three days later.

"When I was suspended on 29 May on charges of bribery and vote buying, it was supposedly based on strong evidence in the investigation conducted by Collins and Collins and directed by (FIFA general secretary) Jerome Valcke and (CONCACAF general secretary and FIFA executive committee member) Chuck Blazer.

"Yet despite the alleged strong evidence conclusive enough to justify my suspension and deprived me of going to the Congress and running as a FIFA Presidential candidate surprisingly enough, FIFA went for another investigation again, this time by Freeh group, to look for evidence which they never had in the first instance to suspend me.

"But as I have vowed before, I will not rest no matter what tactical delays, forgery or bias are put against me.

"I will continue my battle until I prove my innocence and that my suspension was a political decision and an absolute abuse of power to deprive me of my right to contest for (the) FIFA Presidency.

"In the army, they execute the order first, and then discuss. In FIFA, they suspend first, and then look for evidence," Bin Hammam said.

Reuters

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