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
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.