x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Fifa: Bin Hammam must wait for explanation

Mohamed bin Hammam must wait for a full legal explanation of his provisional suspension on bribery allegations before being allowed to appeal.

Mohamed bin Hammam, the AFC president, was hoping to have his appeal heard prior to the Fifa congress meeting today. Shirley Bahadur / AP Photo
Mohamed bin Hammam, the AFC president, was hoping to have his appeal heard prior to the Fifa congress meeting today. Shirley Bahadur / AP Photo

ZURICH // Mohamed bin Hammam must wait for a full legal explanation of his provisional suspension on bribery allegations before being allowed to appeal, Fifa officials said yesterday, meaning he will likely miss the annual congress that starts today.

Bin Hammam wanted his appeal heard yesterday after Fifa's ethics committee suspended him for alleged bribery in his now-abandoned campaign to become president of the sport's world governing body.

Fifa said bin Hammam "needs to receive the fully motivated" ethics decision before challenging his suspension.

 

Also yesterday, the acting leader of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Zhang Jilong, said Fifa had no right to suspend bin Hammam from his role as head of the AFC.

Zhang, a Chinese football official, was installed as the AFC's interim president while bin Hammam is suspended.

"Fifa suspended bin Hammam but he is still the president of AFC," Zhang was quoted as saying by the China Daily, citing quotes from the Chinese news website Sina.com. "Fifa has no right to prevent him from acting his role in AFC."

The quote was removed from the Sina.com's news article later.

Zhang, 59, is the AFC's most senior vice president. He ran for a seat on Fifa's executive committee earlier this year but lost in a vote at January's AFC congress in Doha. He also served on the 2008 Beijing Olympics organising committee.

Chinese media have in the past given him the names "Hand of God" and "Brother Dragon" for allegedly convincing Fifa to change its rules for the 2002 World Cup qualifiers for the Asian zone, effectively putting China in an easier qualifying group.

Meanwhile, Fifa's 208 member nations are due to vote on the presidency today, even though incumbent Sepp Blatter is now the only candidate.

Michel Platini, the Fifa vice president, has raised the prospect of a walkout by Asian members in protest at bin Hammam's treatment, although the Qatari is far from universally popular within Asian football. His reelection to the AFC's top job earlier this year was by the slimmest possible margin.