Monday 26 February 2018

FIFA has been sullied by Blatter - Bin Hammam

Mohamed Bin Hammam Photo: Getty Images
Mohamed Bin Hammam Photo: Getty Images

FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam believes the organisation's reputation has been "sullied beyond compare" under the reign of rival Sepp Blatter.

Bin Hammam, the Qatari president of the Asian football confederation, cited Blatter's recent decision to commit 20million euros to a joint anti-corruption investigation with Interpol as evidence of the Swiss running the game "how (he) sees fit".

"It has become clear yet again in recent days that something urgently needs to be done to improve and enhance the image of FIFA," Bin Hammam wrote on his personal blog.

"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 added: "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.

"Currently, the president has taken on too much of an executive role, as evidenced by the recently announced initiative to donate 20m euros to Interpol. Imagine FIFA financing Interpol's activities!

"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."

Bin Hammam, who was instrumental in securing the 2022 World Cup hosting rights for his home country and who will take on Blatter in the June 1 election, believes the time is therefore right for a change at the organisation's summit.

"How on earth can we convince people of FIFA's innocence?," he asked.

"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."

Blatter appears to be leading the race for re-election, however, with the Oceania confederation throwing their support behind him this morning after UEFA did likewise last week.

Bin Hammam earlier moved to deny allegations that his country's federation had bribed FIFA executive committee members to vote for their 2022 bid.

Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, used Parliamentary privilege on Tuesday to state allegations that Cameroon's Issa Hayatou and Ivory Coast's Jacques Anouma had been paid 1.5million US dollars to vote for Qatar 2022.

Former FA and England 2018 chairman Lord Triesman has also claimed that four other FIFA members asked for favours or money in return for World Cup votes.

But Bin Hammam said: "I can assure you nothing like this has happened from our side. If someone wants to damage reputations like this then they have to provide the proof. You can't just accuse people just like that. It didn't happen."

Hayatou also denied receiving bribes, describing the claim as "pure invention".

Collins had called for reform of FIFA including the World Cup bidding process, insisting that there should be strict rules governing contact between bidding nations and FIFA ExCo members and that FIFA should consider re-staging the 2022 vote if the allegations against Qatar are proved.

He told Press Association Sport: "The process for awarding the World Cup should ideally have more members having a say and clearer rules about the contact between members of the FIFA executive and the bidding countries.

"FIFA should also make clear that if the allegations against Qatar were to be proven that they would re-open the process for awarding the 2022 World Cup."

He also urged the Football Association to take the lead in pushing for such reform by giving up their historic FIFA privileges.

The FA, along with the associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, have their own FIFA vice-president. They also are the only individual national associations represented on the game's law-making body, the International FA Board, where they each have a vote along with FIFA who have four votes.

The special privileges have long caused some resentment among some figures in world football and Collins said: "The FA should be at the vanguard of pushing for the reform of FIFA. We should leading the call for change and should be prepared to ruffle a few feathers.

"We should be prepared to give concessions in order to achieve reform and be prepared to consider giving up the historic privileges."

Press Association

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