Corruption probe

Bin Hammam hits back at claims

May 25, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam says he is "confident there is no charge to answer'' after FIFA opened an investigation into bribery allegations against him, FIFA vice-president Jack Warner and two other officials.

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FIFA announced on Wednesday that its ethics commission would examine the conduct of Bin Hammam and Warner, along with CFU officials Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, in relation to claims made by executive committee member Chuck Blazer.

Blazer, who is the general secretary of the CONCACAF federation, has alleged that violations were committed under the FIFA code of ethics during a meeting organised by Bin Hammam and Warner on May 10 and 11 - the same time Lord Triesman had accused Warner of demanding money for a World Cup 2018 vote - in relation to the upcoming FIFA presidential election, which takes place on June 1.

Bin Hammam, who is the president of the Asian Football Confederation and is running against Sepp Blatter to be the new president of world football's governing body, denies the accusations.

"This has been a difficult and painful day for me today. But, if there is even the slightest justice in the world, these allegations will vanish in the wind," Bin Hammam said in a statement.

"This move is little more than a tactic being used by those who have no confidence in their own ability to emerge successfully from the FIFA presidential election.''

All four officials must be in position by Friday to attend a hearing in Zurich on Sunday, May 29.

Bin Hammam added: "I remain deeply indebted to Mr Warner for his sense of fair play because without his support and understanding I would not have been able to meet with several important member associations of FIFA to discuss my election manifesto.

"Here I completely deny any allegations of wrongdoing either intentionally or unknowingly while I was in the Caribbean. I will speak to Mr Warner on this subject and offer him my full support in ensuring we are discharged honourably by the FIFA Ethics Committee, a body which I hold in the highest esteem.

"I am confident that there is no charge to answer and that I will be free to stand in the FIFA presidential election on June 1 as originally planned.''

The chairman of the ethics committee, Claudio Sulser, will not oversee the proceedings because he shares Swiss nationality with Bin Hammam's presidential rival Blatter, and this could be construed as a conflict of interests. The meeting will instead be chaired by the committee's deputy chairman Petrus Damaseb of Namibia.