By Jo Anne Bladd
Third on the Power 500, Mohammed Bin Hammam masterminded the Arab world's first FIFA World Cup win
Qatar’s World Cup bid hero has been ranked the world’s third most powerful Arab in the Arabian Business Power 500.
A member of FIFA’s executive committee since 1996, Bin Hammam is seen as one of the most powerful men in the world’s most popular – and lucrative – sport. He played a key role in securing Qatar's rights to host the 2020 World Cup, the first time an Arab nation has won the right to hold football's most prestigious tournament.
The World Cup win is undoubtedly the highlight of Bin Hammam’s career thus far, particularly as the Gulf state came up against some strong opposition.
The Qatari executive lobbied hard on behalf of his nation, and was even accused in some quarters of voter collusion, particularly by the Spanish newspaper Marca. However, on his personal blog, Bin Hammam denied the allegations, accusing the paper of fabricating an interview with him and confirming that Asian countries had not been told which country to vote for.
Bin Hammam's fighting spirit will stand him in good stead this year. The AFC chief he has also just announced he will stand for the post of FIFA president in June this year, against current incumbent Sepp Blatter.
In his home country, Bin Hammam is president of the Rayyan Sports Club, and a member of the Advisory Council of Qatar. He is also a former head of the Qatar Football Association.