ZURICH: FIFA’s ethics chief has extended Mohamed Bin Hammam’s worldwide suspension for a further 45 days to enable investigations to continue into the various issues surrounding the 63-year-old former president of the Asian football confederation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The world’s federation’s media department confirmed that the order was signed off by Hans-Joachim Eckert, the chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee “on the basis of art. 85 par. 1 of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”
Bin Hammam was banned for life last year by FIFA after allegations of bribery over his attempt to oust Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.
That ban was overturned in July this year by the Court of Arbitration for Sport but he was then suspended provisionally by the AFC over allegations that he misused its funds while president.
A first AFC suspension was for 30 days, the second for 20 days while it pondered an audit into the finance issue by PricewaterhouseCoopers. This claimed that Bin Hammam had used more than $1m out of AFC accounts for private payments to friends and family.
Simultaneously FIFA suspended Bin Hammam worldwide for 90 days from July 26 until October 24 because ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia needed all the time he could find to consider both the PwC report and how to respond to Bin Hammam’s overturning of his life ban.
Last week FIFA opened a further inquiry into claims that Bin Hammam had breached the terms of the provisional suspension.
That made it virtually inevitable that FIFA would take up its statutory right to extend the suspension for a further 45 days – which it has now done.
Bin Hammam denies any wrongdoing. He has insisted his financial dealings were transparent. He says all payments were signed off with full and proper supervision and knowledge of senior AFC finance officers.
Business associates have told this writer that Bin Hammam believed he had a right to access official accounts because the sums were merely repayments against an earlier personal loan of his own to the AFC.
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