FIFA calls Blatter to ethics hearing with bin Hamman

Reuters, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

Sat, May 28, 2011 - Page 20

FIFA president Sepp Blatter will face an ethics investigation alongside his election rival Mohamed bin Hammam after soccer’s governing body widened its inquiry into bribes-for-votes allegations.

In shock move yesterday, FIFA said it was calling Blatter to appear at an ethics hearing tomorrow, three days before he stands against challenger bin Hammam in the election for the most powerful job in world soccer.

Bin Hammam was summoned on Wednesday, along with CONCACAF president Jack Warner and two Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials, after fellow executive committee member Chuck Blazer reported a possible case of bribery in the election campaign.

According to FIFA’s statement yesterday, ethics proceedings were opened against Blatter at bin Hamman’s request because the FIFA president may have known about cash payments to delegates at the meeting.

“I cannot comment on the proceedings that have been opened against me today,” Blatter, who has been FIFA president since 1998, said in a brief statement yesterday. “The facts will speak for themselves.”

Bin Hammam has denied any wrongdoing in the matter, which concerns a CFU meeting attended by bin Hammam and Warner.

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