DOHA - Suspended Asian football
chief Mohamed Bin Hammam says a campaign has been waged against
him within "certain quarters" at FIFA to "eliminate" him from
the game amid investigations over a cash-for-votes bribery
The Qatari is scheduled to attend a FIFA Ethics Committee
hearing on Friday which is investigating allegations that he
tried to bribe members of the Caribbean Football Union in return
for votes during his FIFA presidential election bid last month.
"With just a few days to go before my hearing, there can be
no doubt 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," he wrote on his personal website on Thursday.
Bin Hammam, a FIFA Executive Committee member, added that he was surprised that while he had been
suspended a few days before the FIFA presidential vote there was
hardly any action against those he was supposed to have bribed.
"Does it not surprise anyone that, although I have been
suspended for the last seven weeks from involvement in all
football-related activities... for allegedly bribing
individuals, none of those who it is claimed received those
alleged inducements have faced similar action?" he asked.
The 62-year-old, who was running against Sepp Blatter for
the FIFA presidency before withdrawing his candidacy allowing
the Swiss to secure a fourth term unopposed, also questioned the
Ethics Committee's haste in taking action him.
"Why was the 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? Why have I not been
treated in a similar way to others who, according to the Ethics
Committee, received inducements?" he asked.
Bin Hammam also criticised the selective leaking of
information after British media last week cited a FIFA Ethics
Committee report which claimed he had refused to speak to
investigators or provide his bank records during the probe.
The report, created by a private investigative agency,
concluded there was "no direct evidence" linking Bin Hammam to
the offer or payment of cash but there was "compelling
circumstantial evidence" that he was the source of the money,
the Press Association reported.
"The leaking of confidential information by individuals to
the media, before the entire story had been told in a manner
that is fair to all sides, was done for their own purposes and
personal agendas," said the Asian Football Confederation chief.
He added there were clear attempts to besmirch his name and
quoted comments by FIFA officials that there was "compelling
evidence Bin Hammam had paid money" to specific parties and that
"Bin Hammam will be banned for life" as examples.
Despite all this, he said the Qatari said he expected the
Ethics Committee to give him "the fair hearing that I deserve,
uninfluenced by political agendas or other interests".
Bin Hammam, who has been suspended since May 29 on bribery
charges but has denied any wrongdoing, also said he believed he
would not have to "travel a long and hard road to clear my name
of the stain of this politically motivated affair."
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