Embattled former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed bin Hammam has pointed a finger at his accusers as he prepares for a FIFA corruption hearing in Zurich beginning on Friday.
The 62-year-old Qatari has been suspended since May following allegations that he attempted to bribe Caribbean football officials to vote for him in the FIFA presidential election.
On Friday he will go before FIFA’s ethics committee to learn his fate, but in a personal blog post written on Wednesday he asked why the people to whom he allegedly offered bribes had not also been the subject of an investigation.
“Does it not surprise anyone that, although I have been suspended for the last seven weeks… for allegedly bribing individuals, none of those who it is claimed received those alleged inducements have faced similar action?” wrote Bin Hammam.
“Why was the FIFA ethics committee in such a hurry to suspend me before the FIFA election took place, and then begin to search for evidence to find if I am guilty or not?
“With just a few days to go before my hearing, there can be no doubt that there has been a campaign waged within certain quarters to ensure that I am seen to be guilty and eliminated from football in the court of public opinion, even before my hearing has started.”
Bin Hammam and former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner were suspended when a leaked report revealed four
Caribbean Football Union (CFU) associations were offered money or saw the offence occurring during a meeting on May 10-11.
Warner has since resigned from all football activities, prompting FIFA to drop their investigation into his role in the affair.
Bin Hammam has previously called for a fair hearing from FIFA and he once again lamented the leaking of information to the media in the build-up to Friday’s hearing at FIFA headquarters.
“…A statement was made on June 23 by an ethics committee official that there is “compelling evidence that Bin Hammam had paid money” to specific parties,” he added on his blog.
“Two days later on June 25, a high-ranking FIFA official told the media that ‘Bin Hammam will be banned for life.’
“Despite these clear attempts to besmirch my name in the public domain, I will not allow my own suspicions to dash my hopes or to make me think, as some would wish, that I will have to travel a long and hard road to clear my name of the stain of this politically motivated affair.”
The ethics committee will also hear the cases of Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, the two CFU officials who were suspended along with Warner.
The charges against Bin Hammam saw him withdraw from the presidential race, allowing incumbent president Sepp Blatter to be voted in unopposed in June for a fourth term at the head of football’s most powerful organisation.
by Buford Balony