Valcke Denies Asking Bin Hammam to Withdraw Candidacy

May 24, 2011

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has rubbished claims that he asked Mohamed Bin Hammam to withdraw from the presidential race against incumbent Sepp Blatter after German broadcasters claimed on Monday, May 23, that he put pressure on the Qatari to pull out of the race.

Valcke, who is overseeing the election campaign, was suggested to have cited allegations of corruption in Qatar’s successful World Cup 2022 bid should see the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President withdraw from the June 1 ballot.

According to The Guardian, Valcke stated: “Contrary to some media allegations I want to make it very clear that neither I nor anyone else at FIFA have asked Mr Mohammed bin Hammam at any point to withdraw his candidature for the upcoming FIFA presidency election.

“The last time I met the AFC [Asian Football Confederation] president was at the Conmebol Congress in Asunción on May 1, where we simply greeted each other. Again these allegations are totally untrue.”

The refute by Valcke came after Qatari 2022 bid officials had denied the allegations of corruption and sought to discredit an “embittered” whistleblower who is set to give evidence to FIFA on Wednesday, May 24.

In a lengthy statement, Qatari officials called the claims of payments to FIFA Executive Committee members in return for votes during the tender for the 2022 World Cup as “distressing, insulting and incomprehensible”.

The statement also raised doubts about the “credibility of the reporters, their motivations and extent to which…the evidence in any way can be relied upon”.