x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Mohamed bin Hammam says 'include Sepp Blatter in investigation'

Mohamed bin Hammam has called for Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, to be included in the bribery investigation that the Qatari candidate faces on Sunday.

Sepp Blatter, left, and Mohamed bin Hammam, right, are due to contest the Fifa presidency next Wednesday. Bin Hammam is due to face an ethics committee on Sunday on allegations of bribery and yesterday called for his Swiss rival to be queried as part of the investigation.
Sepp Blatter, left, and Mohamed bin Hammam, right, are due to contest the Fifa presidency next Wednesday. Bin Hammam is due to face an ethics committee on Sunday on allegations of bribery and yesterday called for his Swiss rival to be queried as part of the investigation.

Mohamed bin Hammam called yesterday for Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, to be included in the current bribery investigation that the Qatari candidate faces on Sunday.

Bin Hammam, who is due to stand against the incumbent in next Wednesday's election, has denied any wrongdoing.

"As the recent accusations also mention incumbent Fifa president Joseph Blatter, Mohamed Bin Hammam has requested that the investigation be extended to include Mr Blatter," a statement from bin Hammam's spokesman said.

Blatter denied involvement in the corruption charges against his election rival, expressing his "shock and dismay" at the latest scandal to rock world football.

In a column on the InsideWorldFootball blog, Blatter said suggestions that the allegations against bin Hammam were politically motivated ahead of the presidential election were "ludicrous".

"I take no joy to see men who stood by my side for some two decades, suffer through public humiliation without having been convicted of any wrongdoing," Blatter wrote in his column.

"To now assume that the present ordeal of my opponent were to fill me with some sort of perverse satisfaction or that this entire matter was somehow masterminded by me is ludicrous and completely reprehensible."

Football's world governing body was thrown into uproar on Wednesday after Fifa announced it had opened a corruption investigation into bin Hammam, the Asian Football Confederation chief, and his North American counterpart, Jack Warner.

Bin Hammam, Warner and two officials from the Caribbean Football Union have been ordered to appear before the ethics committee.

British media reports said bin Hammam and Warner are accused of offering US$40,000 (Dh196,000) cash gifts to national associations at the May 10 and 11 talks in Trinidad & Tobago in return for their votes in the Fifa presidential vote.

Bin Hammam strongly denied the allegations insisting the claims would "vanish in the wind" while accusing Blatter of engineering the investigation.

"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," he said. "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."

The allegations threaten to upend bin Hammam's campaign, which is founded on an anti-corruption theme, and have also further besmirched the image of Fifa.

Some have suggested the election should be put off till a later date.

* Agencies