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Sat 9 Jul 2011 09:56 AM

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Qatar's Bin Hammam says 'hopeful' of FIFA fair trial

Suspended FIFA official expresses disappointment over 'continuous leaks of confidential information'

Qatar's Bin Hammam says 'hopeful' of FIFA fair trial
Mohamed Bin Hammam

Qatar's Mohamed bin Hammam has said he is still hopeful of a fair hearing when FIFA officials meet to discuss allegations of bribery later in July.

The Asian Football Federation chief, who is currently suspended by FIFA, expressed his disappointment over the "continuous leaks of confidential information" as the investigation continues.

He said the leaks relating to claims that Bin Hammam offered bribes to secure votes in his FIFA presidential election bid, had been made "by persons who, along with their motivations, remain unknown".

Speaking on his official blog, Bin Hammam said: "Despite all these, I am still looking for and hoping to receive a fair hearing – one which will not be influenced by any political agenda or motivation."

He added: "These proceedings were initiated based on the allegations of vote buying. I hope that, by now, the investigation has identified whether or not there had been attempts by me - directly or indirectly - to buy votes, particularly from those who claimed to have received these monies.

"I hope that the decision will be made solely by the members of this committee and based solely on the facts presented and not based on assumptions or the wishes of people outside the committee."

The FIFA ethics committee is scheduled to hold hearings on July 22 and 23 as well as review and disclose the findings of its enquiry that is part of the worst scandal to have rocked FIFA in its 107-year history. The committee will pass judgment on July 23.

Last month, it was reported that FIFA's ethics committee had found "comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming" evidence that Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner were involved in attempted bribery.

The ethics committee's report, compiled by Namibian judge Petrus Damuseb last month, said there was a "compelling case" that Bin Hammam was engaged in an act of bribery and that Warner was an accessory.

Bin Hammam said he had done nothing wrong while Warner, who also denied any wrongdoing, hit out at the way the document had been leaked to the media.

Bin Hammam issued a statement via a spokesman re-affirming his denial of any wrongdoing.

The claims centre on a meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) in Trinidad in May.

"The comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming evidence permits to conclude prima facie that the accused (Warner) has initiated and arranged a special meeting of the CFU member associations for Mr Bin Hammam," the report said.

"Furthermore on the occasion of this meeting it seems that Mr Bin Hammam offered, at least indirectly and under the pledge of secrecy, to each of the member associations an envelope containing $40,000.

"The FIFA ethics committee is of the primary opinion that the accused (Warner) had knowledge of the respective payments and condoned them."

The report added: "The committee is also of the opinion that the respective money gifts can probably only be explained if they are associated with the FIFA presidential elections of 1 June 2011.

"Therefore it appears rather compelling to consider the actions of Mr Bin Hammam constitute prima facie an act of bribery, or at least an attempt to commit bribery.

"...It appears prima facie impossible, in the opinion of the FIFA ethics committee, that the accused (Warner) could have considered the money distributed on the occasion of the special CFU meeting as legally or ethically proper and without any connection to the upcoming FIFA presidential election.

"Consequently the accused would at least be considered as an accessory to the aforementioned violations."

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