Bin Hammam claims FIFA wouldn't convict a European
Mohamed bin Hammam claims FIFA would not have convicted him of bribery and imposed a life ban from soccer if he were European, making strong accusations of discrimination in a letter to world soccer's governing body.
The Qatari former presidential election opponent of Sepp Blatter was judged in July to have arranged bribes for Caribbean voters earlier this year.
FIFA's ethics committee is also investigating 16 Caribbean officials suspected of accepting $40,000 cash bribes from bin Hammam
But bin Hammam remains defiant as he mounts a full appeal, continuing to use the Asian Football Confederation presidency notepaper when he wrote to FIFA's deputy ethics committee chairman, Judge Petrus Damaseb, on Sunday.
Bin Hammam accused Damaseb of Namibia of being a ''pawn'' of Blatter's in pursuing a case against him, while also attacking general secretary Jerome Valcke.
''Were I a European, or were the Caribbean part of Europe, neither Blatter nor Valcke will dare lay a finger on us,'' Bin Hammam wrote in a letter released Tuesday on his official website. ''Were we Europeans, you would have never been given the opportunity to chair this ethics committee panel and slaughter people left and right, as you have done.''
FIFA declined to comment on the accusations.
Bin Hammam, who first joined FIFA's executive committee in 1996, is the most senior official found guilty of corruption in FIFA's 107-year history.
The scandal broke when Chuck Blazer, the American representative on FIFA's top body, delivered a file of evidence of Bin Hammam offering or paying bribes at a May 10-11 campaign stop in Trinidad.
FIFA Vice President Jack Warner dodged the panel's judgment by resigning from all of his soccer positions before answering charges about his part in the bribery plot.
The FIFA panel that convicted bin Hammam was headed by Damaseb after ethics committee chairman Claudio Sulser stepped aside because he is Swiss like Blatter.
''Have you ever asked yourself why you have been given the task to chair this committee when the FIFA ethics committee has a capable, qualified Swiss chairman?'' bin Hammam wrote to Damaseb. ''And this despite my legitimate rejection towards your membership in this panel. The answer is simply because Valcke would never have dared to dictate upon him (Sulser) what he must do or not do, while you were merely tasked to stamp any decisions that he will dictate upon you.''
Bin Hammam claimed that ''nobody in this world will believe that Valcke and Blatter are qualified to fight any sort of corruption.''
''If they are serious about fighting corruption, they should have the courage to volunteer themselves as the first subjects of such investigations on the allegations raised against them since years until today,'' he added.
And Bin Hammam warned FIFA in the letter that he is ''capable enough financially and otherwise to defend myself for years if it is necessary.''
Bin Hammam is yet to be replaced as head of Asian soccer. Under AFC statutes, which only allow the position of president to be vacant for one year, an extraordinary congress and election must be held if bin Hammam's appeals aren't resolved by May 29, 2012.