Bin Hammam hits back at Blatter in corruption row

Qatari launches counter-attack, calling for Fifa president to be investigated as well

Football's embattled world governing body Fifa was pitched into further chaos last night when its president, Sepp Blatter, was himself accused of corruption by his election opponent, Mohamed bin Hammam, who is already the subject of a Fifa investigation.

Bin Hammam, who will go before the Fifa ethics committee on Sunday, fought back by accusing Blatter of bribing members in the latest twist in a presidential election campaign that is threatening to tear the organisation apart and could have major implications for the governance of football.

In a move designed to have the maximum impact on Blatter, Bin Hammam called for Fifa to include the 75-year-old in its corruption investigations. Bin Hammam, the Qatari president of the Asian football confederation, claimed Blatter "was informed of, but did not oppose, payments allegedly made to members of the Caribbean Football Union".

The explosive allegations made on Wednesday against Bin Hammam and fellow Fifa executive committee (ExCo) member Jack Warner cite the distribution of $40,000 (£24,000) of cash bribes at a meeting of Caribbean Football Union (CFU) members in Warner's native Trinidad on 10 May.

As years of politically expedient allegiances at Fifa seemed to be crumbling, Blatter had earlier in the day sought to distance himself from the corruption charges against Bin Hammam in a rambling diatribe published online.

Blatter, who faces arguably the most critical weekend of his 13-year reign as Fifa president, said that it was wrong to assume that he took a "perverse satisfaction" in the corruption charges against Bin Hammam and Warner. But at no point did he refer by name to either of the two men, who will learn their fate at an ethics committee meeting on Sunday. In what looked like a direct attack on the former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman, who alleged Fifa corruption in evidence to Parliament this month, Blatter attacked "some malicious others who have neither put up nor shut up".

Otherwise Blatter sat firmly on the fence, sympathising with "two men who stood by my side for some two decades" who, he said, had been made to "suffer through public humiliation without having been convicted of any wrongdoing". Yet in trademark style he also praised their accuser Chuck Blazer, another ExCo member, for his "civic courage".

Blatter hinted at his own state of mind by ending his column for the Inside World Football website with a bizarre proverb about Swiss farmers having their cows killed by jealous neighbours. "When another farmer, elsewhere, on an island, say, has no cow but his neighbour does, that farmer will kill the neighbour's cow out of sheer malice," he wrote. "I'd rather be a Swiss farmer, like it or not."

It also emerged yesterday that Bin Hammam had persuaded Warner to organise a special congress of Concacaf, the region representing North and Central America of which Warner is president, ahead of the organisation's official event in Miami on 3 May. Warner told Blazer to ratify the proposal but Blazer blocked it and Bin Hammam did not go to Miami. He cited visa problems, although he is understood to have a diplomatic passport.

The CFU meeting which Bin Hammam and Warner attended went ahead on 10 May. One attendee contacted yesterday claimed that she did not see evidence of bribes being handed out. Franka Pickering, the president of the British Virgin Islands football association, said: "We discussed why he [Bin Hammam] was running [for president] and that was about it. Us small islands are just a drop in the bucket."

However, Blazer has alleged that bundles of cash were handed out at the meeting and is understood to have compiled a dossier of evidence with his lawyer John Collins that includes sworn affidavits and photographs. New evidence of alleged corruption is emerging all the time, most recently an email from Warner to Triesman which was leaked to the BBC.

In the email sent to Triesman in February last year, Warner asked the English FA to donate $1.6m (£980,000) to Haiti so the country could buy the licence to broadcast that summer's World Cup on public screens. Fifa has since confirmed that no licence existed and nowhere in the world would a public viewing licence have cost so much, let alone Haiti.

Bin Hammam and Warner will go before three members of the ethics committee, one of whom is Namibian Petrus Damaseb on Sunday, who will decide their fate and announce the verdict at a press conference in Zurich on Sunday night. The FA's inquiry – led by QC James Dingemans – into Triesman's allegations of Fifa corruption in the 2018 World Cup bidding process will publish its findings today.

Udderly ridiculous?

Fifa president Sepp Blatter yesterday matched Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in bizarrely using a cow metaphor to make his point.

Writing in his internet column, Blatter said: "When a Swiss farmer's neighbour has a cow while he has none, the less fortunate farmer will work twice as hard so that one day he can buy a cow as well. When another farmer, elsewhere, on an island, say, has no cow but his neighbour does, that farmer will kill the neighbour's cow out of sheer malice. I'd rather be a Swiss farmer, like it or not."

Blatter's remarks come months after Ferguson likened the situation over Wayne Rooney's threat to leave to a "cow in a field".

"Sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it's a better cow than the one you've got in the field," Ferguson said in October.

"It's a fact, and it never really works out that way. It's probably the same cow and it's not as good as your own cow. Some players like to think there's a better world somewhere else. It never really works."

James Mariner

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests