x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Fifa bans Mohamed bin Hammam for life

Qatari 'will continue to fight his case through the legal routes that are open to him'.

Mohammed bin Hammam, above, was charged alone after the investigation into Jack Warner was dropped when he resigned.
Mohammed bin Hammam, above, was charged alone after the investigation into Jack Warner was dropped when he resigned.

Mohamed bin Hammam, the Fifa executive committee member, has been banned from football for life after being found guilty of bribery by the game's ruling body's ethics committee.

The Asian Football Confederation president from Qatar had been suspended since May 29 pending an investigation into claims that he attempted to bribe members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) at a meeting on the Fifa presidency campaign trail in Trinidad in May.

After a two-day hearing, which bin Hammam did not attend, Petrus Damaseb, the ethics committee deputy chairman, confirmed that the former Fifa presidential candidate was found guilty and banned from all football-related activity for life.

Damaseb said: "Bin Hammam is hereby banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level for life."

Damaseb delivered the verdict at a news conference in Zurich yesterday evening. Bin Hammam said last week he would not get a fair hearing and Damaseb confirmed he had not attended the two-day session, which took place behind closed doors at Fifa headquarters in Switzerland, but was represented by five members of his legal counsel.

Eugene Gulland, the head of bin Hammam's legal team, read out a statement from him after the verdict was announced.

"Mr bin Hammam rejects the findings of the Fifa ethics committee hearing and maintains his innocence," said Gulland. "He will continue to fight his case through the legal routes that are open to him.

"He has gone on record and he maintains that the Fifa ethics committee was going to find against him whatever the validity of the case that he presented to them.

"The Fifa ethics committee has apparently based its decision on so-called 'circumstantial evidence', which our case has clearly demonstrated was bogus and founded on lies told by senior Fifa officials."

Bin Hammam had been set to run against Sepp Blatter, the incumbent Fifa president, but withdrew from the race following the allegations, and has been suspended from all football activity since May 29.

CFU officials Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester were handed one-year bans for their role in the affair.

Jack Warner, the Fifa vice-president, who was charged along with bin Hammam, did not face the ethics committee after Fifa dropped their investigation into him following his resignation from all football activities.

Before the hearing bin Hammam vowed to take his fight further if found guilty by football's governing body.

He said: "Rest assured that justice will eventually prevail whether through the Fifa ethics committee, the Court of Arbitration for Sport or if necessary, through other courts or legal proceedings in courts where we will be equal and no special privileges will be granted to either party.