(WFI) Disgraced former Asian football boss Mohamed Bin Hammam bids to overturn his lifetime ban from football this week at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
CAS is scheduled to hear the former FIFA presidential candidate’s appeal Wednesday and Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Bib Hammam, 62, was banned by world football’s governing body last July following an ethics investigation that concluded he had offered cash bungs to Caribbean Football Union members in an effort to win their votes for his campaign to oust FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
The Qatari lodged his case at CAS in November, nearly two months after FIFA rejected his appeal. 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 the CFU officials at a May meeting in Trinidad and Tobago.
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 CFU members.
Bin Hammam, who denies wrongdoing and has vowed to prove his innocence, vociferously criticized Blatter and the ethics committee process in the months that followed his ban. He claimed he was the victim of a kangaroo court.
Bin Hammam is also bidding to stop the Asian Football Confederation from replacing him as president.
China’s Zhang Jilong was appointed as acting AFC chief last summer. Under its constitution, however, the AFC must wait one year from the date of Bin Hammam’s provisional ban – May 29 – before holding an election to replace him.
“A sense of togetherness and unity of purpose has never been more important in Asian football,” Zhang told AFC’s executive committee last month, according to an AFP report.
“2012 will be very challenging for me, and you, but I promise you that as the acting president I will go by the AFC statutes.”
Whether Zhang will try to take over as president on a permanent basis should Bin Hammam fail before CAS this week remains unclear.
Either way, candidacies from elsewhere in the AFC are likely. More on that to come Thursday from INSIDER.
By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson
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