GENEVA (AP) - FIFA rejected Mohamed bin Hammam’s appeal on Thursday against a life ban from soccer for allegedly offering bribes during his campaign to unseat Sepp Blatter as president of the sport’s governing body.
“To be fair to the Appeal Committee members though, as a consequence of our experiences with the Ethics Committee, we didn’t make serious efforts to prove my innocence this time around,” bin Hammam wrote.
“The sanction of being banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level for life has therefore been maintained,” the governing body said in a statement.
Bin Hammam, who did not attend Thursday’s hearing, said he saw “light at the end of the tunnel and I am heading confidently towards it.”
“Mr. bin Hammam has already gone on record stating that he was not optimistic of justice prevailing from the FIFA appeals process but this was a protocol to enable him to obtain access to CAS,” his American lawyer Eugene Gulland said in a statement.
Bin Hammam, a 15-year veteran of FIFA’s ruling executive committee, denies arranging to bribe Caribbean voters with $40,000 cash payments in May to support his election challenge to Blatter. Because of the accusations, he dropped out of the race three days before Blatter was re-elected unopposed.
Bin Hammam is preparing a second case at CAS, to challenge the appointment of Chinese official Zhang Jilong as his interim replacement as Asian Football Confederation president while he fights his ban.
“These decisions infringe the Asian Football Confederation’s constitution,” Gulland said. “We also continue to champion the need for transparency and call on FIFA to publish the transcripts of the appeals panel as well as that of the Ethics Committee proceedings in July.”
FIFA said bin Hammam’s appeal was judged by Francisco Acosta, the Ecuador Football Federation general secretary, Fernando Mitjans of Argentina and Augustin Senghor, president of the Senegalese federation.