x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Bin Hammam should also resign, says Velappan

The former AFC general secretary says suspended Mohamed bin Hammam should follow Fifa vice-president Jack Warner and quit the sport.

There has been calls for Mohamed bin Hammam to follow Jack Warner and quit football.
There has been calls for Mohamed bin Hammam to follow Jack Warner and quit football.

SINGAPORE // Mohamed bin Hammam, the Asian football president, should follow Fifa vice-president Jack Warner and quit the sport after both were suspended over bribery claims, a former top official said.

Peter Velappan, the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) general secretary for 30 years until 2007, said not only bin Hammam, but Fifa's entire executive committee should resign as the sport seeks to clean up its image.

"I would suggest in the interests of Fifa and global football the entire Fifa exco (executive committee) must resign and open up a new chapter for football for the future," Velappan told AFP in Singapore.

"In the same way, for the future of Asian football, Hammam should resign."

Bin Hammam was not available for comment yesterday after Warner's surprise resignation from all international football posts, three weeks after he was suspended over vote-rigging claims.

Velappan supported bin Hammam when he came to power in 2002 but the two later fell out. He predicted the Qatari "will follow" Warner by stepping down, and said Asia's football leadership needed wholesale changes.

"We are at not only a crossroads but a crisis because now corruption has become part of the culture of football," said the Malaysian. "Everybody now comes into football for the greed of money."

China's Zhang Jilong is the acting AFC president after bin Hammam was barred while Fifa investigates the corruption claims. But Velappan said "two or three" candidates for the presidency may emerge if Hammam cannot clear his name.

Warner was one of Fifa's most controversial figures after a string of accusations against him, culminating in the allegations surrounding this month's Fifa presidential poll.

After Warner's resignation, the world body withdrew its investigation into the bribery claims against its vice-president and said "the presumption of innocence is maintained".