Photo: AsianFC on Flickr
FIFA has opened a corruption investigation of executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam, just one week before he challenges Sepp Blatter for the presidency of the organisation.Mohamed Bin Hammam and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner are accused of bribery and ethics violations, related to the vote for FIFA president that takes place on June 1. They’ve been called to a hearing this Sunday in Zurich.
Bin Hammam – who is from Qatar and is also president of the Asian Football Confederation – and Warner are accused of holding a meeting with Caribbean soccer officials to lobby them for support in Bin Hammam’s presidential bid. The accusations come from Chuck Blazer, a U.S. soccer official who is also on the executive committee.
Qatar won a controversial vote (over the United States) to host the 2022 World Cup last fall. Several FIFA officials have also been accused of accepting bribes to support Qatar in that vote. Warner has also been accused of soliciting bribes from the English Football Association in exchange for votes on their 2018 World Cup bid (that eventually went to Russia.)
It’s interesting that FIFA suddenly seems so interested in corruption, just days before the challenge to Blatter’s power. He was expected to retain his job easily, but timing makes it seem as though the soccer boss is determined to ruin his rival for good.
Meanwhile, inquiries into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes have been slow to develop and have not resulted in any formal charges.
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