AFC suspends bin Hammam because of bribery

The Asian Football Confederation accused its disgraced president

Mohammed bin Hammam of bribery after an internal audit revealed

fresh allegations of financial wrongdoings by the Qatari football


The AFC said late Monday it enforced a provisional suspension of

30 days from the continental body for bin Hammam, who is already

fighting a lifetime ban from football imposed by FIFA. The

suspension comes three days before sport’s highest court is set to

rule on the FIFA ban, meaning bin Hammam would be denied an

immediate return to office even if he wins his appeal.

The Qatari was ousted from FIFA for trying to buy votes while

challenging Sepp Blatter for presidency of football’s world

governing body last year.

The latest sanctions against bin Hammam come after a yearlong

audit that has revealed ”infringements” regarding the ”execution

of certain contracts” and tampering with AFC bank accounts, the

Malaysia-based Asian football body said in a statement released

late Monday night.

The statement did not elaborate and said the executive would not

be making any further comment. It only said the case has been

referred to the AFC’s disciplinary committee.

Bin Hammam was elected AFC president in 2002. He has been

fighting to restore his reputation since a bribery scandal hit the

highest management of world football in May 2011, a week before the

FIFA presidential election.

The Qatari withdrew his bid just hours before FIFA provisionally

suspended him, allowing Blatter to be re-elected unopposed.

FIFA used evidence from whistleblowers that pointed to bin

Hammam handing out $40,000 bribes in cash to each of 24 Caribbean

football nations during his campaign visit to Trinidad.

Bin Hammam was banned for life from all football-related duties

a year ago but has denied wrongdoing and challenged his ban. Zhang

Jilong was appointed last year as the AFC as temporary president

until either Bin Hammam returns or a new election is held.

Jack Warner, FIFA vice president and a veteran power broker in

the north and central American and Caribbean (CONCACAF) region was

also implicated in the scandal that cost bin Hammam is position.

Warner walked away from world football before FIFA concluded its

probe into allegations of wrongdoings.

Bin Hammam appealed the FIFA ban in April at the Court of

Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Bin Hammam and his American lawyer could not be reached for

comment Monday.

The AFC is the second of FIFA’s six confederations to reveal

widespread allegations of financial management this year after

opening their books to auditors.

CONCACAF leaders announced in May that they believed Warner and

former general secretary Chuck Blazer had mismanaged its finances

and commercial contracts over a number of years. The New York-based

body reported itself to the United States Internal Revenue Service

over failures to file tax returns.

Blazer is the most senior American official in world football.

The evidence he collected from whistleblowers against Warner and

bin Hammam was crucial in bringing down two of his long time

colleagues on the FIFA executive committee.