Mohamed bin Hammam set to quit – but not before proving his innocence


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The Independent Football

The former Fifa presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam claims that he will quit football once he had cleared his name of all charges.

Bin Hammam has had the lifetime ban imposed for allegedly paying bribes annulled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, however, only due to a lack of evidence. The ruling by CAS will cause huge embarrassment to Fifa, whose ethics committee imposed the sanction one year ago.

Fifa can bring fresh proceedings against the 63-year-old Qatari if the revamped ethics committee has any new evidence. After CAS gave its ruling, however, Bin Hammam said his only motivation to stay in football was to provide evidence of his own. I promise you I will not quit until I clear my name," he said. "I have one aim, one mission, one target and that is to clear my name and then I say goodbye."

Bin Hammam said the experiences of the last year had made him fall out of love with football. "Frankly speaking, what my wish is, is to quit," he said. "I have served football more than 42 years and the last year I have seen a very bad, very ugly face of the sport and of the football.

"The jealousy... I will not talk about corruption and other things everybody is talking about. My wish now is just to quit and retire.

"When I have been falsely suspended I have really found myself: Mohamed Bin Hammam the man, the family man, the man of his friends, going back to my business, I have found peace in the last year and I wish to continue like it.

"I am 100 per cent innocent in my actions in all the campaign and that was very important for me."

Bin Hammam was found guilty by Fifa's ethics committee in July 2011 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 (£25,000) each and totalling around $1m had come from Bin Hammam.

CAS said in its ruling: "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".

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 PricewaterhouseCoopers 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 one 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.

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 Fifa's reformed ethics committee could re-open the case if new evidence was presented.

The Fifa statement added: "Moreover, Fifa has taken note of the decision by the AFC earlier this week to open a disciplinary case against 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."