Mohammed Bin Hammam
By James M. Dorsey
World soccer body FIFA will hear disgraced Asian Football Confederation head Mohammed Bin Hammam’s appeal against his lifetime ban from involvement in soccer on September 15.
Mr. Bin Hammam, a 62-year old Qatari national and former FIFA vice president, was banned in July by the soccer body’s ethics committee on charges of bribing Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials to ensure their support for his failed FIFA presidential bid. Mr. Bin Hammam withdrew his candidacy hours before he was suspended pending an investigation. His withdrawal paved the way for FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s unchallenged re-election for a fourth term.
World Football Insider quoted a FIFA spokesman as saying that Bermuda’s Larry Mussenden, the chair of FIFA's appeals committee, would not be involved in Mr. Bin Hammam’s appeals hearing. Bermuda was one of the CFU members which originally exposed the bribery scandal. Mr. Mussenden later gave evidence against Mr. Bin Hammam in the ethics committee investigation.
As a result the hearing is likely to be chaired by one the FIFA appeals committee’s two deputy chairmen, Madagascar Football Federation president Ahmad Ahmand or Solomon Islands lawyer Charles Ashley.
Mr. Bin Hammam, charging that the bribery charges against him were a set-up, has said he that he did not expect to win the appeal. Mr. Bin Hammam is going through the motions so that he can take his case to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS).
"The decisions of the appeals committee will not be any better than the ethics committee and I would not be surprised if another investigation will be opened. But as I have vowed before, I will not rest no matter what tactical delays, forgery or biasness are put against me. I will continue my battle until I prove my innocence and that my suspension was a political decision and an absolute abuse of power to deprive me of my right to contest for FIFA presidency,” Mr. Bin Hammam wrote on his website three weeks ago.
In a letter published on his website earlier this week, Mr. Bin Hammam appealed to the deputy chairman of the ethics committee, Petrus Damaseb, who chaired the meeting that banned him, to “not let Blatter use you as his pawn in his battle for revenge. Blatter is immune and is so used to betrayal, conspiracy and wrongdoings but you are not."