Football: Bin Hammam blogger ordered to reveal sources

Above: Mohamed bin Hammam in a 2011 file photo
SINGAPORE - Singapore's High Court ordered a blogger to reveal his sources Friday after he reported that a leaked internal audit detailed large payments to suspended Asian soccer chief Mohamed bin Hammam.
Lawyers for James M. Dorsey, a Singapore-based academic and journalist, and 
the complainant, sports marketing company World Sport Group, both said the
move was approved after a closed-door session lasting nearly four hours.

"The application was allowed pending appeal," Dorsey's lawyer N. Sreenivasan
told AFP.

Dorsey had reported details on his blog, "The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer",
of a leaked PricewaterhouseCoopers internal audit of the Asian Football Confederation
(AFC), which he said listed payments to its president, bin Hammam.

The multi-million dollar payments were made before the Asian football body extended
its exclusive marketing and media rights contract with Singapore-based World Sport
Group, Dorsey said, in a deal reportedly worth $1 billion (S$1.22 billion).

WSG applied to the High Court to force Dorsey to reveal his source for the information,
and any related documents, with the intention of launching possible defamation or
breach of confidence proceedings.

"We want information so we can determine what charges to make and against whom,"
said Deborah Barker, senior counsel representing WSG.

Dorsey told AFP he was "disappointed" by the ruling, and confirmed that he planned to

"I'm disappointed at the court's ruling and will appeal it," said the German national, who
is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore's
Nanyang Technological University.

The case has attracted press freedom concerns from Gianni Merlo, president of the
Swiss-based international sports media association (AIPS), and comes at a time of
renewed intrigue related to the bin Hammam situation.

This month, Kong Lee Toong, husband of former AFC finance director Amelia Gan,
pleaded not guilty in a Malaysian court to charges of stealing a financial document of
bin Hammam's from the body's Kuala Lumpur headquarters.

Qatar's Hammam, 63, has been suspended from football activities for more than a year,
after FIFA's ethics committee found him guilty of bribery during his election campaign to
replace the world body's president, Sepp Blatter.

The bribery case was seen as shedding a light on murky practices inside FIFA, and
prompted new questions about Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup, in
which bin Hammam played a role. The bid, alongside others, is now under investigation.

However in July, bin Hammam's lifetime ban from football was overturned by the Court of 
Arbitration for Sport on grounds of insufficient evidence.

The Qatari multi-millionaire, 63, remains provisionally suspended by both FIFA and the
AFC pending investigations into the Asian body's financial dealings.

WSG, which bills itself as "Asia's leading sports marketing, media and event management
company", is majority-owned by French company Lagardere.

It also has global media rights for cricket's Indian Premier League and is the media and 
marketing partner of the OneAsia golf circuit.


  1. Your attorney has some good arguments, James. If they had been more transparent and honest, you wouldn't have needed to use those sources in the first place. To punish the messenger is throwing the game to the cheaters. And it has been proven that you uncovered corruption, so who cares about the sources? The story stands on its own. Imagine what the world would be like today if journalists had disclosed all of their confidential sources over time. They are harboring a lie and trying to turn it on you.


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