Bin Hammam Concedes FIFA Reputation ‘Sullied Beyond Compare’

May 13, 2011

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed Bin Hammam, sole challenger to current FIFA presidential incumbent Sepp Blatter, has denied that the organisation is corrupt following fresh bribery allegations involving four more Ex-co members, but conceded that it has battered its reputation.

Former English FA and England 2018 bid chairman David Triesman used a parliamentary inquiry into the failing of England’s World Cup bid on Tuesday, May 10, to allege that four FIFA Ex-co members demanded inducements in return for voting for England during its campaign.

The fresh allegations mean that a total of 8 of the 24 FIFA Ex-co members have been embroiled in the World Cup bid bribery scandal.

Bin Hammam used a blog post today to defend FIFA, saying something urgently needed to be done to improve its image, attacking his Swiss counterpart in the process.

The Qatari AFC chief wrote: “The name of our great sport and its leading institution have been dragged through the mud once more. I will happily and unreservedly restate that I firmly believe FIFA, as a decision-making body and as an organisation, is not corrupt.”

He claimed that much wonderful work was done by FIFA and “to label the entire organisation corrupt would be to tarnish the efforts of all those who operate tirelessly to bring all that is positively associated with our sport to people all over the globe”.

However, the 62-year-old admitted: “However, under the current status quo it is impossible to deny that the governing body’s reputation has been sullied beyond compare and it is time for that to change.”

Under Bin Hammam’s election manifesto, he promises to establish an independent anti-corruption unit, a plan which has been echoed by Blatter. If re-elected, Blatter pledges to form a “council of the wise”, which he has described as “a higher-level body to Congress that is intended to restore the credibility of FIFA in terms of corporate governance and compliance.”

Bin Hammam went on to criticise Blatter for donating US$20m to Interpol to tackle illegal betting and match-fixing without first getting the FIFA ruling body’s approval for the initiative, adding: “This decision was taken arbitrarily by the FIFA President and was not discussed with the Executive Committee.

“It is just another example of the current regime choosing to run football how it sees fit, rather than doing so in a manner that is consistent with the governing body’s proper procedures.

“How on earth can we convince people of FIFA’s innocence? A new atmosphere needs to descend upon FIFA; there needs to be an opportunity for new ideas to take hold and for the organisation to take a new direction.”