ZURICH: FIFA is approaching another setpiece battle in the war of wills with controversial former vice-president Mohamed Bin Hammam writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
A long-running suspension of the 63-year-old Qatari was due to end tomorrow.
However, FIFA’s independent prosecutor, Michael Garcia, concluded his own investigations and sent a report to ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert with a request that Bin Hammam’s ban be extending pending adjudication – which it has been.
The fact that Garcia wanted the suspension to remain in place indicates the direction of his conclusions.
If judged guilty of serious breaches of the FIFA Code of Ethics Bin Hammam would collect yet another ban, possibly for life. It then appears inevitable that he would pursue FIFA’s own appeals process then – if rebuffed – go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Bin Hammam was banned for life last year by FIFA over bribery allegations arising out of a short-lived presidential election campaign. He had the ban overturned by CAS but was then banned again pending inquiries into allegations that he had misused Asian confederation funds.
Garcia had launched an inquiry both into the fall-out from the original allegations and the AFC funds issue.
On 4 December 2012, the chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Michael J. Garcia, who is also the head of the investigation conducted by the Ethics Committee into Mohamed bin Hammam, notified Bin Hammam of the completion of the investigation and informed him that the final report, together with the investigation files, would be submitted to the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee for examination.
On the same day, all of the documents were sent by Garcia to the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber, Hans-Joachim Eckert.
Together with the final report and all of the investigation files, Garcia requested the imposition of provisional measures against Bin Hammam in accordance with the first sentence of art. 83 par. 1 of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE).
Garcia stated that the request was not based on the necessity to protect an ongoing investigation, but rather that it was necessary because, given the extraordinarily complex nature and the considerable scope of the present case, it appeared highly unlikely that a decision on the relevant issues may be taken early enough within the meaning of article 83 par. 1 of the FCE.
Given the seriousness of the violations of the FCE as alleged in the final report, Garcia said in his letter to the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber that it was imperative that Bin Hammam remained banned from football during the pendency of any decision on these charges.
On 6 December, having examined the final report and investigation files, Eckert deemed that the final report was complete and decided to proceed with adjudicatory proceedings in this case, in accordance with art. 69 par. 4 of the FCE. At the same time, Eckert established a deadline for Bin Hammam to respond.
Based on the report, the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber has decided to provisionally ban Bin Hammam given that a breach of the FCE appears to have been committed and that a decision on the main substance of the case may not be taken early enough.
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