Jilong Rejects Bin Hammam’s Tactics

The acting president of the Asian Football Confederation accuses Mohammed Bin Hammam and lawyer Eugene Gulland of employing “intimidatory tactics” in their quest to clear the Qatari’s name. 
Zhang Jilong, acting Asian Football Confederation president. (Getty Images)
“Their plan is intimidate and create technical legal issues and objections in the hope that the more serious allegations of secret commissions, bribery, corruption and other wrong-doings are never exposed to the light of day,” Zhang Jilong wrote Wednesday in a letter to AFC member associations, the AFC Executive Committee and FIFA.
Jilong also denied any conflict of interest in the ongoing AFC Disciplinary Committee action against Bin Hammam or that he “personally benefitted from his support”.
Bin Hammam, whose lifetime ban from football for attempting to bribe Caribbean officials in his bid to oust Sepp Blatter as FIFA president was overturned last July by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, faces fresh allegations of financial mismanagement during his time in charge of the AFC and is lodging another appeal with CAS.
In a letter quoted Tuesday by the Press Association, the Qatari asks Michael J. Garcia, chairman of the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee, why Blatter and other senior officials are not also under investigation by FIFA given the complaints against them.
“Whilst I am still suspended, my rival in the 2011 presidential election remains in power and office. He is not under any investigation or suspension. This is so difficult for me to understand,” wrote Bin Hammam.
“Mr. Bin Hammam and Mr. Gulland do not want the Asian Football Confederation to consider the evidence that now exists and for which Mr. Bin Hammam must answer,” Jilong said Wednesday.
“The immediate task I believe is that we must all agree to allow our independent Judicial Bodies to hear the evidence and decide the case against Mr. Bin Hammam. We can then take the next steps in our journey of re-building the Asian Football Confederation.”

Brazil Must Pick Up Pace, Says Valcke

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says Brazil must pick up the pace on Confederations Cup construction if all six venues are to participate in next year’s dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup.
Jerome Valcke, secretary general of FIFA. (Getty Images)
“Definitely there are some stadiums which are not ready,” he was quoted Tuesday in an Associated Press report.
“Definitely there is some concern about a few stadiums, so we will have to make sure that the work will have to speed up. I’m talking mainly about the Confederations Cup. (For) the World Cup, it’s OK for the time being.”
Though the Frenchman cited no specific venues, his comments came within close proximity of an inspection visit to Recife, where the Arena Pernambuco faces a February deadline and is just 64 percent complete.
FIFA says Recife as well as Salvador could forfeit their hosting rights to the Confederations Cup if they don’t improve their act by November.
After visits to Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre, Valcke’s tour ends Thursday in Rio de Janeiro with a board meeting of the Local Organizing Committee.
By INSIDER’s Matthew Grayson

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