x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Payments were personal to help others, insists Mohamed bin Hammam

The former AFC president has written to the leaders of several Asian countries following a probe into his finances.

Former AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam
Former AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam

Mohamed bin Hammam has admitted making personal payments to football officials -  but has insisted they were for people suffering from serious illnesses and to the family of a teenage player who died on the pitch.

Bin Hammam, the FIFA member who is under fresh investigation by Fifa's ethics committee despite having a lifetime ban overturned in court, has had his financial dealings while Asian Football Confederation president be the subject of a report by accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The Qatari has written to the leaders of several Asian countries claiming he is still being targeted for having challenged Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency and explaining the payments highlighted by PWC - which he claims were from his own funds to people who faced personal difficulties.

Bin Hammam says he also made personal payments to Zhang Jilong, the AFC president who ordered the PWC investigation.

He said in a letter: "Dear friends, one last point, Jilong was one of those who came to me for financial support and I helped him with a significant amount from my personal account.

"I will leave him to explain the circumstances of this to you if he wishes."

Bin Hammam has also vowed to clear his name after FIFA's ethics committee opened investigation proceedings against him.

He added: "My legal team has filed an immediate response to the actions of the AFC and Fifa in relation to my latest politically-motivated ban."