Bin Hammam drags FIFA president Blatter to ethics committee (Lead)

May 27th, 2011 - 7:30 pm ICT by IANS  

London/Zurich, May 27 (IANS) FIFA president Sepp Blatter will appear before the world soccer governing body’s Code and Ethics Committee here Sunday to answer charges that he knew about alleged cash payment as bribe for the June 1 presidential elections.

Blatter decided to appear Friday after his rival for FIFA presidency Mohammad bin Hammam, who is also a FIFA executive committee member, alleged that the veteran Swiss administrator knew about the payments made to officials of Caribbean Football Union (CFU) but did not oppose it.

FIFA’s three key officials — Blatter, Bin Hammam, who is also the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president, and vice-president Jack Warner — along with CFU officials Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester will now appear before the Code and Ethics Committee.

In a statement FIFA said: “On 26 May 2011, Fifa ExCo member Mohamed bin Hammam has requested the FIFA ethics committee to open ethics proceedings against FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter on the basis that, in the report submitted by Fifa ExCo member Chuck Blazer earlier this week, Fifa vice-president Jack A. Warner would have informed the Fifa president in advance about alleged cash payments to delegations attending a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) apparently organised jointly by Jack A. Warner and Mohamed bin Hammam on 10 and 11 May 2011 and that the Fifa President would have had no issue with these. Subsequently, the Fifa ethics committee today opened a procedure against the Fifa president in compliance with art. 16 of the Fifa code of ethics.”

The ethics committee first asked bin Hammam, Warner, Minguell and Sylvester to appear, but charges raised by bin Hammam prompted them to ask FIFA president to appear before the committee as well.

Fifa’s code of ethics rules state that as the complaint came from a member of the body’s executive committee, the independent ethics committee must now also investigate Blatter.

Bin Hammam said in a statement that Blatter was informed about the payments made to officials of the CFU but did not oppose it.

“I am not at all afraid to answer any questions that the Ethics Committee may have for me at the hearing next Sunday. As long as the Committee guarantees a fair process, I have nothing to fear,” he said.

Bin Hammam, a Qatari, in a letter to FIFA secretary-general Jerôme Valcke requested that FIFA Code and Ethics Committee should also investigate Blatter.

“It is no coincidence that these allegations have been made only a few days before the 61st FIFA Congress, at which the new FIFA president will be elected. The timing of the accusations so close to the election of FIFA president suggests that they are part of a plan to damage Mr. Bin Hammam and force him to withdraw as a candidate for the FIFA presidency,” the AFC said in a statement.

Amid claims and counter-claims, London daily The Guardian revealed further details of the allegations contained in the dossier compiled by the US attorney John Collins at the behest of Blazer, the Concacaf secretary general.

The daily reported that the file, which contains signed affidavits from officials approached at a specially convened meeting of the Caribbean Football Union and offered payments of up to $40,000 from bin Hammam, is believed to allege the “football development” cash was proffered in private briefings with the 25 attendees.

Blatter, however, insisted that he had no knowledge of the dossier or the allegations.

“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,” Blatter was quoted as saying by InsideWorldFootball website.

“Fifa does not need a revolution. What Fifa needs is iron clad laws that are implemented forcefully… When a Swiss farmer’s neighbour has a cow while he has none, the less fortunate farmer will work twice as hard so that one day he can buy a cow as well,” he said.

“When another farmer, elsewhere, on an island, say, has no cow but his neighbour does, that farmer will kill the neighbour’s cow out of sheer malice. I’d rather be a Swiss farmer, like it or not,” he added.

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