Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bin Hammam handed lifetime ban by FIFA

ZURICH, - (AFP) - Asian football supremo Mohamed bin Hammam was on Saturday banned from the game for life after being found guilty of corruption following a two-day hearing of FIFA's ethics committee.

The 62-year-old Qatari, the president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), had been accused of trying to buy votes in the FIFA presidential election with $40,000 cash gifts to Caribbean football officials.
"The official Mr Bin Hammam is hereby banned from taking part in any kind of football activity at national or international level for life," said ethics committee deputy chairman Petrus Damaseb at FIFA headquarters.
Whistle-blowers said Bin Hammam tried to bribe officials to vote for him by distributing cash-stuffed envelopes during a Caribbean Football Union (CFU) meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on May 10-11.
CFU officials Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, also being investigated by the ethics committee over claims they helped hand out the money, were eached banned from football-related activity for a year.
Former FIFA vice-president and CONCACAF president Jack Warner was also charged over his alleged role in the affair, but his resignation from FIFA last month prompted the organisation to drop all the charges against him.
Bin Hammam's subsequent withdrawal from the presidential election gifted a fourth straight term in office to his former ally Sepp Blatter, who made cleaning up FIFA's tarnished image a post-election priority.
Bin Hammam had already all but conceded defeat prior to the announcement of the ethics committee's verdict.
"It seems likely that FIFA has already made its decision weeks ago," he wrote in a blog post on Friday. "So none of us should be completely surprised if a guilty verdict is returned."
Friday's 13-hour session did not wrap up until after 10:00 pm local time (2000GMT), while Saturday's hearing began at around 9:00 am local time beneath grey skies in the Swiss financial capital.

AFP Photo: This file picture shows President of Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Qatar's Mohammed bin Hammam, arriving at FIFA headquarters in Zurich for his hearing before FIFA ethics committee over bribery allegations.

Bin Hammam corruption case timeline
A timeline of the corruption scandal involving former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed bin Hammam, who was banned from football for life by FIFA's ethics committee on Saturday.
December 2, 2010
- Qatar sensationally awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup, controversially overcoming competition from Australia, the United States, South Korea and Japan.
Bin Hammam, a former chairman of the Qatar Football Association (QFA), plays a key role in pre-vote lobbying.
January 6, 2011
- Bin Hammam, then aged 61, wins a new four-year term as president of the AFC, the world's largest football confederation, after an uncontested election.
March 18, 2011
- Bin Hammam confirms that he will challenge his former ally Sepp Blatter in the FIFA presidential election in June.
March 28, 2011
- Bin Hammam accuses the 75-year-old Blatter of dragging FIFA down and says "people have been judging the entire organisation by the unpopularity of its president".
May 25, 2011
- FIFA announce that they are opening a corruption investigation into four officials, included Bin Hammam and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.
Bin Hammam and Warner, 68, are accused of offering $40,000 cash gifts to national association representatives at a Caribbean football summit on May 10-11, in return for their votes in the presidential election.
Bin Hammam says he "completely denies" the charges and later calls them a "conspiracy".
The four people, including Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, are ordered to appear before FIFA's ethics committee in Zurich on May 29.
May 29, 2011
- Bin Hammam withdraws from the FIFA presidential election, hours before he is due to face the ethics committee.
Bin Hammam and Warner are provisionally suspended from all football activities by the committee, but Blatter is cleared over allegations that he knew about the payments made at the Caribbean meeting.
May 30, 2011
- Bin Hammam says he will appeal against his suspension.
June 1, 2011
- Blatter is elected unopposed for a fourth consecutive term as FIFA president.
June 20, 2011
- Warner resigns from all his positions in international football, prompting FIFA to drop their investigation into the claims against him.
"As a consequence of Mr Warner's resignation, all ethics committee procedures against him have been closed and the presumption of innocence is maintained," says a FIFA statement.
July 6, 2011
- FIFA announce that the ethics committee hearing over the charges against Bin Hammam, Minguell and Sylvester will take place behind closed doors at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland on July 22 and 23.
July 7, 2011
- Bin Hammam says he is "hoping to receive a fair hearing -- one which will not be influenced by any political agenda or motivation".
July 22, 2011
- Bin Hammam decides not to attend the opening day of the ethics committee hearing, leaving his defence in the hands of his legal team.
In a blog post, he says he is expecting a "guilty verdict" but declares 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."
July 23, 2011
- Bin Hammam is banned from all football-related activity for life at the close of the ethics committee hearing.

FIFA statement on Mohamed bin Hammam
FIFA Ethics Committee statement after a life ban was handed out to Asian football chief Mohamed bin Hammam on Saturday:
"The FIFA Ethics Committee, under the chairmanship of Petrus Damaseb (Namibia), has today decided to ban football officials from taking part in any football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) for periods of between life and one year, after they were found to have breached various articles of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
The decisions, which were taken during a two-day meeting of the Ethics Committee held in Zurich on 22 and 23 July 2011, are the following:
- Mohamed bin Hammam (FIFA Executive Committee member) was banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level for a period of life.
- Debbie Minguell (Caribbean Football Union official) was banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level for a period of one year.
- Jason Sylvester (Caribbean Football Union official) was banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level for a period of one year.
- Furthermore, Chuck Blazer (FIFA Executive Committee member) received a warning for comments he made on 30 May at the CONCACAF Caucus held in Zurich. These comments suggested some CFU members were "under investigation", when this was not true."

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