x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Mohamed bin Hammam not happy over delay

Fifa, football's governing body, is dragging its feet to explain why he has been banned, the former official says.

DOHA // Mohamed bin Hammam has described as "outrageous" the length of time taken for Fifa to produce the full decisions for his lifetime ban.

The Qatari was given the ban by Fifa's ethics committee two weeks ago after being found guilty of paying or offering bribes. Bin Hammam cannot formally lodge an appeal until the reasoned decisions have been produced by Fifa.

He said in a statement: "Although Fifa was keen to introduce the sanctions against me immediately, it has been in much less of a hurry to publish the reasons behind its decision.

"This delay is suspicious in that it gives Fifa the time to devise a justification for a decision that it was always going to make anyway. This is also outrageous, as Fifa has been quick to publicise my guilt while holding up my opportunity to appeal.

"Fifa is therefore violating its own rules by seeking to enforce an order before issuing a decision explaining its grounds."

Fifa traditionally takes several weeks to publish its legal rulings. Former executive committee members Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii were able to appeal their suspensions in January, seven weeks after the ethics panel sanctioned them in a World Cup bidding scandal.

Bin Hammam is the most senior official ever convicted of corruption in the governing body's 107-year history, and the third serving Fifa executive committee member banned from football for ethics violations in the past nine months.

A fourth, Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, dodged the panel's judgment by resigning from all of his football positions last month before answering charges about his part in the alleged bribery plot.

The clampdown has been portrayed by Fifa as a sign it is getting tough on corruption that just months ago threatened to tear apart the organisation over allegations that the 2018 World Cup bid won by Russia and the 2022 bid won by Qatar were tainted by vote buying.

Critics said bin Hammam's conviction simply shows that Fifa applies its anti-corruption rules selectively.

"The verdict shows that Fifa is willing to police corruption when it's in the direct interest of Sepp Blatter at election time," said Grant Wahl, the chief football writer at Sports Illustrated, who attempted to run for the Fifa presidency but didn't receive a formal nomination. "But I'm still sceptical that this will bring about any real change. The same people are still in power."