ZURICH // Mohamed bin Hammam, the Fifa presidential candidate, has denied any wrongdoing after the world football's governing body summoned him to appear before an ethics hearing over a report into possible bribery.
Bin Hammam, the AFC president, and Jack Warner, the Concacaf president, will face an ethics investigation at Fifa headquarters on Sunday, three days before bin Hammam challenges Sepp Blatter in the June 1 presidential election.
“This has been a difficult and painful day for me today,” Bin Hammam said in a statement.
“But, if there is even the slightest justice in the world, these allegations will vanish in the wind. This move is little more than a tactic being used by those who have no confidence in their own ability to emerge successfully from the Fifa Presidential election.
Fifa said it had received a report from Chuck Blazer, another executive committee member, which included “bribery allegations”.
The report referred to a Caribbean Football Union (CFU) meeting which was attended by Warner and bin Hammam on May 10-11 and was linked to the election campaign.
The Fifa statement read: “On May 24, Fifa executive committee member and Concacaf general secretary Chuck Blazer reported to Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke possible violations of the Fifa code of ethics allegedly committed by officials,” the ruling body said in a statement.
“In particular, the report referred to a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), apparently organised jointly by Fifa vice-president Jack Warner and Fifa executive committee member Mohamed bin Hammam, which took place on 10 and 11 May 2011.
“This meeting was linked to the upcoming Fifa presidential election. “In view of the facts alleged in this report, which include bribery allegations, Jerome Valcke requested the Fifa Ethics Committee to open ethics proceedings.”
Blatter’s campaign adviser, Brian Alexander, said the Fifa president would not comment on the case.
Warner has long been a key power broker in Fifa politics and his 35-member confederation has not yet officially endorsed either candidate.
Two other Caribbean Football Union officials, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, are also being investigated.
Fifa said the four people under suspicion have been invited to “take a position” by Friday and report to the ethics panel on Sunday.
Bin Hammam said in the statement: "Here I completely deny any allegations of wrongdoing either intentionally or unknowingly while I was in the Caribbean.
"I will speak to Mr Warner on this subject and offer him my full support in ensuring we are discharged honourably by the Fifa Ethics Committee, a body which I hold in the highest esteem.
"I am confident that there is no charge to answer and that I will be free to stand in the Fifa Presidential election on June 1 as originally planned.”