Bin Hammam quits FIFA race, ugly bribe details emerge
While everyone was distracted by the Champions League final, Mohamed Bin Hammam withdrew from the FIFA presidential race. But, according to Mohamed Bin Hammam, that has nothing to do his impending bribery case or how the details of it were reported by the Telegraph shortly after his announcement.
From the AP:
"Recent events have left me hurt and disappointed—on a professional and personal level," bin Hammam wrote on his personal website. "It saddens me that standing up for the causes that I believed in has come at a great price—the degradation of FIFA's reputation. This is not what I had in mind for FIFA and this is unacceptable.
"I cannot allow the name that I loved to be dragged more and more in the mud because of competition between two individuals. The game itself and the people who love it around the world must come first. It is for this reason that I announce my withdrawal from the presidential election."
Bin Hammam decided to run for the presidency after playing a key role in Qatar winning the rights to host the 2022 World Cup.
"I pray that my withdrawal will not be tied to the investigation held by the FIFA ethics committee as I will appear before the ethics committee to clear my name from the baseless allegations that have been made against me," bin Hammam said.
I don't think those prayers are going to help much because not long after Bin Hammam regurgitated this lame excuse, the Telegraph published an excellent piece of journalism from Paul Kelso that reveals FIFA to work exactly how you think it does.
The report alleges up to 25 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials were each offered envelopes containing $40,000 (£24,000) in cash, split into four $10,000 "stacks" of $100 bills, to persuade them to vote for Bin Hammam in this week's Fifa presidential election.
Seven whistle-blowers have told investigators the cash was presented as a "gift", and that they were told "not to tell anyone about the cash, not to discuss the cash with the others and not to show anyone the money".
The alleged offers were made in one-to-one meetings following a special summit of the CFU, arranged by Warner to allow Bin Hammam to present his election manifesto in Trinidad earlier this month
And that's just the beginning. Sepp Blatter is also implicated in the report, as it says that Jack Warner stated that he was aware of the payoffs and didn't object. This should be shocking, but given FIFA's reputation, the only shocking thing is that corruption this brazen hasn't been caught sooner.
So now with Blatter the only presidential candidate remaining and this sham of an election finally negated, the only question that remains is whether these revelations will prompt the ethics committee to do anything meaningful in response. And the answer is: probably not.
UPDATE: We were right! FIFA announced on Sunday that Bin Hammam and Warner will be suspended until a full inquiry is launched. And Sepp Blatter, as always, is cleared of doing anything wrong. The presidential election, with its one incumbent candidate, will go on and the charade that is FIFA will continue to roll on.