Bin Hammam Gets CAS Date to Challenge FIFA Lifetime Ban

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Bin Hammam was banned for life by FIFA last summer after being found guilty of bribery allegations (Getty)
(WFI) Disgraced former Asian football boss Mohamed Bin Hammam will bid to overturn FIFA's lifetime ban from football at the Court of Arbitration for Sport on April 18 and 19.

CAS has confirmed the dates on its website.

The former FIFA presidential candidate was banned last July following an ethics commission investigation which concluded he had offered cash bungs to Caribbean Football Union members in a bid to win their votes for his campaign to oust Sepp Blatter.

The 62-year-old appeal was lodged at CAS in November nearly two months after FIFA rejected Bin Hammam's appeal against his ban. The ban was handed down by FIFA's ethics committee on July 23 after it found him guilty of seven counts of misconduct, including offering $40,000 bribes to Caribbean football officials in May.

FIFA's original ethics committee report had said there was "compelling" evidence that the Asian football boss together with former CONCACAF chief Jack Warner had bribed Caribbean Football Union members.

Bin Hammam, who denies wrongdoing and has vowed to prove his innocence, vociferously criticised FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the ethics committee process in the months that followed his ban. He claimed he was the victim of a kangaroo court.

The Qatari is also bidding to stop the Asian Football Confederation from replacing him as president. CAS is due to deliver its verdict shortly following a separate hearing at sports highest court.

Bin Hammam was upset about the appointment of China's Zhang Jilong as acting AFC chief last summer amid the battle to clear his name.

Under its constitution, the AFC must wait one year from the date of Bin Hammam's provisional ban - May 29 - before holding an election to replace him.

Zhang said two weeks ago that he was ready and willing to take complete charge of the confederation.

"I am interested in becoming president permanently on the condition that I am recognised by all my friends and brothers on the executive committee, as well as the other 46 members' association," Zhang was quoted by the South China Morning Post.

"We need to be one family, as brothers, for we are on one boat sailing towards the future. If I become president permanently, I wish to work for the solidarity and development of Asian football.”

But Zhang is expected to face a challenge from Bahrain Football Association president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Yousef Al Serkal, from the United Arab Emirates, who are reportedly eager to stand for Asian football's top job.

"I have great confidence in getting great support from many parties, I received during launching the [past] electoral battle with Mohamed Bin Hammam," Sheikh Salman told TV channel El Dawry and El Kass.

"We have received promises of support by many Asian federations to give me her voice in the election, and I have to speak with Mohamed Bin Hammam, where he stressed his support for me and his blessing," he added.

Zhang's campaign was handed a boost last October during a Blatter visit to AFC headquarters when the Swiss praised Asian football chiefs for their handling of the fall-out from the Bin Hammam cash-for-votes scandal.

"I can only congratulate and commend the Asian Football Confederation, how they have dealt with the problem that has occurred here in this confederation especially by having to replace the president," Blatter said at the time. "We have now an acting president, we have an executive committee that's working together in solidarity and in unity."

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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