Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fifa begins ethics inquiry into Bin Hammam & Jack Warner over allegations of alleged bribery, so much smoke but can they prove fire?

Dear All

For some considerable time there have been allegations that some FIFA Officials are corrupt re-selling free tickets for profit and the buying of their votes.

Fifa is reluctant to talk about it and BBC Panorama has being doing a running piece over the years.

Now, Fifa is investigating allegations against four officials, including vice-president Jack Warner and presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam after serious allegations were made by executive committee member Chuck Blazer.

Allegations of bribery!

Blazer says Fifa's code of ethics was violated at a meeting "apparently organised" by Bin Hammam and Warner which was also attended by two other officials are Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester from the Caribbean Football Union.

The CFU represents 25 Fifa member nations as well as five territories not affiliated to Fifa.

The meeting is alleged to have centred the Fifa presidential election which takes place on 1 June.

Bin Hammam, the president of the Asian Football Confederation, is running against current president Sepp Blatter to be the new head of football's world governing body.

So, we have a situation where four officials have been called to a hearing of Fifa's ethics committee in Zurich on 29 May.

Fifa has also announced that Claudio Sulser, the head of the ethics committee, will not take charge of the hearing because he shares Swiss nationality with Bin Hammam's presidential rival Blatter.

The committee's deputy chairman Petrus Damaseb of Namibia will instead chair proceedings.

The Fifa statement read:

"On May 24 2011, Fifa executive committee member and Concacaf general secretary Chuck Blazer reported to Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke possible violations of the Fifa code of ethics allegedly committed by officials.

So many allegations of wrongdoing are now swirling around, questions are being asked, is it right for Fifa to press ahead with Wednesday's presidential election?

I would say no.

Fifa added in its statement:

"In particular, the report referred to a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), apparently organised jointly by Fifa vice-president Jack A. Warner and Fifa executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam, which took place on May 10 and 11 2011. This meeting was linked to the upcoming Fifa presidential election. In view of the facts alleged in this report, which include bribery allegations, Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke, in compliance with art. 16 of the Fifa code of ethics, yesterday requested the Fifa ethics committee to open ethics proceedings."

These allegations levelled by Warner's longtime Concacaf ally Blazer are likely to destroy Bin Hammam's already fading hopes of defeating Blatter in the vote by Fifa's 208 national members.

It seems that the closed world of Fifa needs to be brought into the 21st Century.

News of this inquiry comes after Fifa had to launched a separate investigation into claims made by former Football Association and England 2018 World Cup bid chairman Lord Triesman.

Triesman alleges that four Fifa members, Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi wanted "bribes" in return for votes to back England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.

The bid was won by Russia.

Warner has already stated the allegations made against him by Triesman were "a piece of nonsense".

British MPs at the culture, media and sport committee in the House of Commons have also claimed that Confederation of African Football (Caf) president Issa Hayatou and executive committee member Jacques Anouma took bribes related to Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid.

While Fifa operates and is run by a clique, there will be no will to put their house in order.

But with 208 members it seems that getting consensus maybe a difficult proposition as people jockey for position within the organisation.

So far nothing substantial has ever been done to change the organisation.

It’s a closed world and cash cow run for the benefit of a minority.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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