Qatari soccer official Mohamed bin Hammam, who challenged Sepp Blatter for the presidency of international soccerâ€™s governing body, lost an appeal against his lifetime ban from the sport, FIFA said on Thursday. Heâ€™ll now appeal to sportâ€™s top court, his lawyer said. Bin Hammam was head of the Asian soccer confederation and was banned in July after being found guilty of buying votes for the FIFA leadership contest against Blatter. Bin Hammam said the ban was politically motivated and that he had the resources to fight for years to clear his name.
â€œThe appeal made by Mohammed bin Hammam has been rejected and the decision of the FIFA Ethics Committee confirmed,â€ FIFA said in an e-mailed statement. â€œThe sanction of being banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level for life has therefore been maintained.â€ The Zurich-based bodyâ€™s three-member appeal panel was led by Ecuadorian Francisco Acosta and included officials from Argentina and Senegal.
FIFAâ€™s decision to expel Bin Hammam came after an investigation led by former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Louis Freeh into claims he offered Caribbean soccer officials envelopes containing $40,000 while campaigning in the region. FIFA vice president Jack Warner, who arranged Bin Hammamâ€™s visit to the Caribbean, was also suspended and quit the sport before the end of Freehâ€™s inquiry. He denied wrongdoing.
The papers will be lodged with the Lausanne, Switzerland- based court once Bin Hammam receives a full written statement from FIFA explaining its latest decision, Gulland added. â€œI will continue my battle until I prove my innocence and that my suspension was a political decision and an absolute abuse of power to deprive me of my right to contest for FIFA presidency,â€ Bin Hammam wrote on his personal blog last month.
Bin Hammamâ€™s legal team has also lodged a separate action with CAS that challenges FIFAâ€™s right to designate Chinaâ€™s Zhang Jilong as â€œacting presidentâ€ of the Asian Football Confederation and appoint him to sit on the FIFA Executive Committee, Gulland said.