By Andy Sambidge
Qatar's FIFA presidential candidate says allegations part of plan to force election withdrawal
FIFA presidential contender Mohamed bin Hammam on Friday said the investigation into an alleged bribes for votes scandal should be extended to include Sepp Blatter.
Qatar's Bin Hammam and Blatter are opponents in the race for the presidency, with the vote due to take place June 1.
Bin Hammam, the head of football in Asia, is accused by FIFA of offering $40,000 to Caribbean soccer officials as part of his pitch to take over the post, claims he says hold no substance.
In a statement, Bin Hammam said he’s asked for Blatter to be included in the probe because, as part of the evidence provided to FIFA, there were statements suggesting the FIFA president “was informed of, and did not oppose” the alleged payments.
"The timing of the accusations so close to the election of FIFA president on June 1, 2011 suggests that they are part of a plan to damage Mr Bin Hammam and force him to withdraw as a candidate for the FIFA presidency," he said in a blog on his official website.
He added: "I am not at all afraid to answer any questions that the Ethics Committee may have for me at the hearing next Sunday. As long as the committee guarantees a fair process, I have nothing to fear."
In recognition of FIFA's rules and regulations, bin Hammam said he reserves the right to explore all legal options.
On Wednesday, bin Hammam said he was confident that there would be no charge to answer at the hearing on Sunday.
FIFA has opened an investigation into claims that bin Hammam, from Qatar, offered bribes to members of the Caribbean Football Union in exchange for votes in next week’s election.
Bin Hammam has been accused alongside FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, soccer’s governing body said.
I thought only politicians are fighting for offices because of the gains they are making. NOW only, I realized that also FIFA presidential election is as tough as that of USA election. There is a big gain out of that (seems to me). It should not be the fame. I miss old days when I used to watch free final world cup on a black & white TV, very late at night prodcasted from Argentina 1978. At that time, there was a very limited sat technology, yet we were able to watch it along with friends and families. NOW, with all sponsorship of football, I can't watch a local league simply because they are encrypted and you have to pay. I hope that some day, they won't sell air to breath or we die if we don't pay. MONEY MONEY MONEY. Shame!