Last Updated: Sun Jul 17, 2011 20:12 pm (KSA) 17:12 pm (GMT)

Qatar’s Bin Hammam faces lifetime ban from soccer activities

Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar is pictured through the window of a limousine upon his arrival at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich. (File Photo)
Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar is pictured through the window of a limousine upon his arrival at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich. (File Photo)

FIFA’s executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar faces being banned from world football this week following allegations he offered bribes when he was standing against Sepp Blatter in the election for the presidency of the world’s soccer governing body.

The Sunday Times on Sunday said it has seen a report identifying witnesses who say they were offered $40,000 (£24,800) in envelopes on behalf of Mr. Bin Hammam.

On Friday, British media cited a FIFA ethics committee report that claimed the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president had refused to speak to investigators or provide his bank records during the probe.

The report, created by a private investigative agency, concluded there was “no direct evidence” linking Mr. Bin Hammam to the offer or payment of cash but there was “compelling circumstantial evidence” that he was the source of the money, the Press Association reported.

Mr. Bin Hammam is suspected of colluding with Jack Warner, then FIFA’s vice president, to offer bribes worth a total of $US1m to members of the Caribbean Football Union during a meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in May, according to The Sunday Times.

A preliminary report written by the FIFA ethics committee details witness statements given by three delegates who attended the meeting and say they were offered and turned down the money, The Sunday Times said.

The document describes how officials were called into a room to collect a “gift.” When they opened the package, it says, they found $40, 000, comprising “4 USD 10,000 stacks of USD 100 bills,” the publication added.

The Turks and Caicos football representative at the meeting said in her evidence that Mr. Warner “informed attendees that the cash gift had been provided by Mr. Bin Hammam.”

According to the report, Mr. Warner allegedly confirmed this when he spoke to Chuck Blazer, the member for America. The report also says that one of the officials who initially took the cash “was asked to conceal the money and not to discuss the events which occurred . . . with anyone.”

According to another report The Sunday Times said was leaked, there was “compelling circumstantial evidence that Mr. Bin Hammam was the source of the money.”

However, the report said there was no direct evidence linking him to the payments.

A source close to the Mr. Bin Hammam told Reuters on Saturday that the Asian soccer chief had nothing to comment on the allegations.

Mr. Bin Hammam has been suspended since May 29 on bribery charges and has denied any wrongdoing. He withdrew from the June vote in Zurich, allowing Mr. Blatter to secure a fourth term unopposed.

The 62-year-old Qatari will learn his fate when he appears at the Ethics Committee meeting, which will be convened in Zurich on July 22.

(Mustapha Ajbaili, Night Editor of Al Arabiya English, can be reached at: Mustapha.ajbaili@mbc.net)

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