Bin Hammam Admits Administrative Visa Error Hinders Chances

May 6, 2011

FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam, sole challenger to current incumbent Sepp Blatter, has admitted that the mix-up which saw him unable to attain a visa to the United States in order to attend the CONCACAF Congress has affected his chances of replacing the Swiss.

Bin Hammam travels on a diplomatic passport yet was still unable to fly to Miami and revealed in a blog on his website that he was unable to attend “due to issues beyond my control”.

It has since been reported that he was in fact refused a visa – and it has now been revealed how that came about after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president claimed he was the victim of an “administrative error” on the US side which prevented him joining Blatter in Miami..

Bin Hammam stated: “Yes, I have a diplomatic passport. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the CONCACAF Congress in Miami, Florida, because of an administrative error. And I have been definitely affected by it.”

An AFC spokesman went further, adding: “There was an administrative faux pas – not on our side! – when he submitted his passport for the stamping of the US visa. Even diplomatic passport holders like the AFC President sometimes need a visa.”

“When the passport came back, the visa had not been stamped and the book had to be sent back. 

“This coincided with the Easter holidays and before the visa could be stamped he had to catch the plane to the UK and, onwards to, Paraguay.”

Although Bin Hammam’s absence technically reduced his chances of unseating Blatter, CONCACAF President Jack Warner claimed that he would wait to hear from the Qatari before deciding who to back in the elections.

Bin Hammam has now been invited to Trinidad next week at a specially convened alternative summit where he will meet Warner and Caribbean members of confederation.