Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Investigate Blatter Too, Says Hammam

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Investigate Blatter Too, Says Hammam

Article excerpt

Byline: Martyn Ziegler

MOHAMED Bin Hammam has demanded that Fifa president Sepp Blatter himself be included in the investigation by the world governing body's ethics committee. Bin Hammam, who along with Fifa vice-president Jack Warner has been charged with bribery, claims Blatter has also been named in evidence submitted to the ethics committee ahead of a hearing on Sunday.

The 62-year-old, who is standing against Blatter in next week's presidential election, said in a statement: "Mohamed Bin Hammam, member of the executive committee of Fifa, was surprised by yesterday's accusations of bribery. He rejects these accusations and confirms that they are without substance.

"The accusations also contain statements according to which Mr Blatter, the incumbent Fifa president, was informed of, but did not oppose, payments allegedly made to members of the Caribbean Football Union.

"Mr Bin Hammam has therefore requested that the investigation by the Ethics Committee be extended to include Mr Blatter himself.

"The timing of the accusations so close to the election of Fifa president on June 1, suggests that they are part of a plan to damage Mr Bin Hammam and force him to withdraw as a candidate for the Fifa presidency." Bin Hammam added: "I am not at all afraid to answer any questions that the Ethics Committee may have for me at the hearing next Sunday.

"As long as the Committee guarantees a fair process, I have nothing to fear."

Blatter had earlier insisted he was deeply saddened by the bribery allegations and branded claims that he is trying to smear his opponent as "ludicrous''.

Blatter said: "To now assume that the present ordeal of my opponent were to fill me with some sort of perverse satisfaction or that this entire matter was somehow masterminded by me is ludicrous and completely reprehensible.

"I am shocked, saddened and deeply unhappy about the charges levelled against a man whose friendship I enjoyed for many years.

"It gives me no pleasure to see him suffer public disgrace before an investigation would even have started." The pair will face long bans if the allegations - made by fellow executive committee member Chuck Blazer - are proven and Blatter commended the American for coming forward. …

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