Mohamed Bin Hammam has Fifa ban annulled by Court of Arbitration for Sport

 

Mohamed Bin Hammam's lifetime FIFA ban imposed for allegedly paying bribes has been annulled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The ruling by CAS will cause huge embarrassment to FIFA, whose ethics committee imposed the lifetime ban one year ago.

The 63-year-old Qatari has been not proven innocent by CAS but the appeal has been upheld on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

FIFA can bring fresh proceedings against Bin Hammam if the revamped ethics committee has any new evidence.

Bin Hammam was found guilty by FIFA's ethics committee last year of paying bribes to Caribbean Football Union officials at a meeting in Trinidad last year while campaigning against Blatter for the FIFA presidency.

Jack Warner, who quit as FIFA vice-president after the scandal broke, told officials gifts of 40,000 US dollars each and totalling around 1million US dollars had come from Bin Hammam.

The CAS panel made its decision by a 2:1 majority and said in its ruling: "The CAS panel has not been presented with any direct evidence to link Mr Bin Hammam with the money's physical presence in Trinidad and Tobago, its transfer in a suitcase or otherwise to Mr Warner, and its subsequent offer to the CFU members for the purpose of inducing them to vote for Mr Bin Hammam."

The CAS panel added that "it is more likely than not that Mr Bin Hammam was the source of the monies" and that "his conduct, in collaboration with and most likely induced by Mr Warner, may not have complied with the highest ethical standards that should govern the world of football and other sports".

CAS stressed it was not finding Bin Hammam innocent but that the case was "not proven".

"The panel is doing no more than concluding that the evidence is insufficient in that it does not permit the majority of the panel to reach the standard of comfortable satisfaction in relation to the matters on which the appellant was charged," the ruling states.

Bin Hammam had been president of the Asian Football Confederation and he was provisionally suspended by that governing body earlier this week.

That followed an audit by Pricewaterhouse Coopers that centred on contract negotiations and payments to and from AFC bank accounts during Bin Hammam's presidency.

He was alleged to have breached a number of AFC regulations including relating to gifts and bribery. Sources close to Bin Hammam say the allegations are further attempts to tarnish his name.

Bin Hammam always claimed the FIFA action against him was retribution for having challenged Blatter for the presidency.

He had been a growing force in international football and displayed his power by being influential in Qatar's runaway victory in the contest to host the 2022 World Cup.

Some observers had believed he was on course to defeat Blatter until, less than a month before the election, he was accused of paying around 1million US dollars to officials from 25 Caribbean nations.

Witnesses testified that after being addressed by Bin Hammam at a specially-arranged meeting in Trinidad, officials were invited to pick up cash gifts of 40,000 US dollars per association contained in brown envelopes.

FIFA expressed concern over the CAS decision and revealed that the 30-day temporary suspension of Bin Hammam by the AFC had been extended worldwide by FIFA's disciplinary committee.

A statement said: "FIFA has noted with concern the decision announced today by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the Mohamed Bin Hammam case."

The statement noted that the CAS verdict said Bin Hammam "is more likely than not.... the source of the monies", and that FIFA's reformed ethics committee could re-open the case if new evidence was presented.

The statement added: "Moreover, FIFA has taken note of the decision by the AFC earlier this week to open a disciplinary case against Mohamed Bin Hammam and to provisionally suspend him from taking part in any football activity for another matter.

"The chairman of the FIFA disciplinary committee extended this provisional suspension to worldwide level yesterday. Therefore, Mohamed Bin Hammam remains suspended until the current case has been concluded.

"At FIFA level, all relevant files will now be handed over to the new FIFA ethics committee, which will start operating on 25 July 2012. The FIFA ethics committee will then decide based on the reports and evidence presented to it if any action is required to be taken against Mohamed Bin Hammam."

Eugene Gulland, speaking on behalf of Bin Hammam's legal team at Covington & Burling LLP, said: "We are delighted with the decision issued by the Court of Arbitration, rejecting all of FIFA's unfounded allegations of wrongdoing against Mr Bin Hammam, allowing his appeal and quashing FIFA's unjust life ban.

"Throughout this lengthy process Mr Bin Hammam has maintained his innocence and remained confident that he would be vindicated once the case was brought before an independent, third party body.

"Mr Bin Hammam will now carefully consider his options before making further comment."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits