Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hammam's last try

Mohamed Hammam will make his final bid to overturn his lifetime FIFA ban from bribery on Wednesday (18/0/12).

The Qatari is taking an appeal against the ban, which was imposed by FIFA's ethics committee in July, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.

Hammam was banned for life after being found guilty of paying cash gifts totalling nearly 1million US dollars (£630,000) to football officials from Caribbean countries during his FIFA presidential campaign last May.

The 62-year-old, who had also been president of the Asian Football Confederation, failed to overturn the ban at FIFA's appeals committee in September and the CAS panel remains his last chance.

Hammam is not expected to attend the hearing in person but to leave the legal arguments to his lawyers. FIFA will also have their legal team arguing that the bribery charges had been proved and that the lifetime ban was just.

The charges were brought after a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union in Trinidad on May 11 last year arranged to hear Hammam while on the campaign trail.

According to a FIFA ethics committee report, witnesses said after Hammam's speech, then FIFA vice-president Jack Warner instructed delegates to go to a room to pick up gifts - these turned out to be brown envelopes each containing 40,000 US dollars in cash.

According to the witnesses, Warner told delegates that Hammam 'was the actual source of the money', the report states. Warner resigned from all football activities in June after being charged with bribery.

Hammam pulled out of FIFA presidential contest and Sepp Blatter was re-elected unopposed.

After his lifetime ban, Hammam - who spearheaded Qatar's successful bid for the 2022 World Cup - insisted he would never stop fighting to clear his name.

“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 FIFA presidency.”

The CAS hearing is expected to last for two days with the decision being announced within the next month.

Hammam has also gone to CAS to try stop the Asian Football Confederation replacing him as president.
China's Zhang Jilong was appointed as acting AFC president last summer but the confederation must wait one year from the date of Bin Hammam's provisional ban - May 29 - before holding an election to replace him. - Mail.

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