Banned Asian football chief Mohamed bin Hammam likened FIFA president
Sepp Blatter to a “dictator” on Monday, and said bribery claims against
him were the result of cultural misunderstandings.
62-year-old former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president was
banned from the game for life on Saturday following a two-day FIFA
ethics committee hearing at the organisation’s Zurich headquarters.
Hammam had been accused of seeking to buy votes in the FIFA
presidential election by offering cash gifts of $US40,000 each to
delegates at a Caribbean Football Union (CFU) get-together in May.
He has pledged to appeal the decision.
Qatari reacted to his ban on Saturday by publishing a scanned copy of a
personal letter sent to him by Blatter in 2008 on his personal blog,
demonstrating the extent to which he felt betrayed by the 75-year-old
He returned to the theme in an interview carried out in
Doha with Britain’s Sky News, broadcast on Monday, in which he compared
Blatter to a tyrant.
“When you are in a position to lead, the leader usually doesn’t revenge,” he said.
is actually the act of the dictators, and you have witnessed through
history the dictators, when they think this or that person is a
prominent one to replace him, the first thing they do is execute him.
“And they try to fabricate any allegation against him, to jail him or something like that.
“So I mean usually — I don’t know whether Mr Blatter considers himself a leader or not — but the leader doesn’t revenge.”
Hammam also said that gift-giving was a routine practice in FIFA and
that exchanging presents with other members of the organisation should
not be regarded as attempted bribery.
“This is a normal, normal,
normal practice,” he said. “I’m telling you again, I did not give any
cash gifts to anybody but these are normal.”
Pointing to his wrist watch, he added: “This watch is a gift.”
Bin Hammam insisted “he had nothing to do with” the cash-filled envelopes allegedly distributed to the CFU officials.
Hammam’s suspension by FIFA on May 29 led to his withdrawal from the
presidential election, thereby handing Blatter a fourth consecutive term
In a letter to AFC members published on his blog on
Monday afternoon, Bin Hammam said that he was not ready to relinquish
his role at the head of the organisation.
“I have all the right to fight against this shameful accusation until I clear my name,” he wrote.
means I will not render my resignation as AFC President and FIFA member
representing Asia as far as the legal proceedings are continuing.”
Hammam has confirmed that he will appeal in the first instance to
FIFA’s appeal commitee, but he holds little faith that the organisation
that banned him will find in his favour.
In the event that an
appeal to FIFA fails, he has vowed to take his case to the Court of
Arbitration for Sport (CAS) – the highest sporting judicial authority
in the world – in Lausanne.
“The civil court in Switzerland, CAS, that is where we believe we will get the necessary justice,” he told the BBC on Sunday.
a last resort, Bin Hammam could pursue legal redress through the
Federal Court of Switzerland, but a verdict could take months – if not
years – to be handed down.