DOHA, July 21, 2011 (Reuters)
DOHA, July 21, 2011 (Reuters)
Suspended Asian soccer 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 scandal.
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, said on www.mohamedbinhammam.com 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.”