Sat, Jul 21, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Bin Hammam feels vindicated after lifetime ban lifted

AFP, NICOSIA

Mohamed Bin Hammam said that “the truth has been established” after the life-long ban handed to him by FIFA was lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday.

Bin Hammam was banned from football for life in July last year after being accused of trying to buy votes during the FIFA presidential election, but the CAS ruled that the allegations had not been proven.

“The truth has been established after this long procedure and my conscience is clear,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s not revenge for me [against FIFA], it’s about showing equanimity from my point of view [towards FIFA].”

Bin Hammam was the president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) when he was banned from the sport by FIFA’s Ethics Committee following an investigation that took place behind closed doors at the organization’s Zurich headquarters.

“I always said that I was innocent during the process,” Bin Hammam said.

“I was sure that when the affair went before an independent body, the truth would come out, and that’s what’s happened,” he said.

“I’m very happy because I’ve been able to prove that all the allegations against me were false and were intended to tarnish my reputation,” he said.

Bin Hammam was accused of trying to purchase votes by distributing envelopes containing US$40,000 in cash to delegates during a Caribbean Football Union meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in May last year.

His subsequent withdrawal from the election saw Sepp Blatter re-elected unopposed for a fourth consecutive term.

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