DOHA - Mohammed Bin Hammam is refusing to
resign as Asia football chief and has asked his colleagues for
their patience as he tries to clear his name after being banned
from football for life by FIFA on bribery charges last weekend.
In an open letter to the heads of the 46 member associations
of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the Qatari, who has
been replaced on a caretaker basis by China's Zhang Jilong,
appealed for understanding and support.
"I have all the right to fight against this shameful
decision until I clear my name," Bin Hammam wrote in a letter on
AFC headed paper which he posted on his
blog late on Monday.
"It may take some time before I go through the appeal
committee of FIFA and the Court of Sports Arbitration (CAS) and
possible other procedures.
"That means I will not render my resignation as AFC
President and FIFA member representing Asia as far as the legal
proceedings are continuing.
"I am appealing for your understanding and appreciation for
my cause and reasons and looking for your support to me until I
prove my innocence."
The 62-year-old was found guilty last Saturday of attempting
to buy the votes of Caribbean Football Union officials in the
run-up to last month's FIFA presidential election, in which he
had challenged incumbent Sepp Blatter before withdrawing shortly
before the vote.
Bin Hammam, a FIFA Executive Committee member since 1996,
could face a wait of several weeks or even months before a full
report of the ethics committee's sentence is made available and
he can start his appeal.
The AFC Executive Committee are scheduled to meet at their
headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Friday under the continued
temporary leadership of Zhang, who acknowledged on Sunday that
the organisation was suffering.
Despite Bin Hammam refusal to resign his positions his
presidential profile page on the AFC website could not be loaded on Tuesday and his name had been removed
from the AFC Executive Committee list.
His appeal for support from his former colleagues is
unlikely to receive public acknowledgment but despite his
experiences, the Qatari talked up the merits of an Asian leader
as the head of football's world governing body in future.
"The unjustified decision made by FIFA Ethics Committee...
was a result and direct consequence to my decision to contest
for FIFA presidency," Bin Hammam wrote.
"Although I did not continue my way through the election, I
strongly believe that Asia based on its population, talent, love
for football and strong economy is qualified to occupy the
highest sports position world wide.
"I hope you never give up your rights to contest for FIFA
presidential seat in the future."
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