The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said the suspension of its chief Mohamed bin Hammam remained despite a Swiss court overturning his life ban from football imposed by Fifa.
Asia’s football governing body said that it ‘noted’ the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which upheld a challenge by the embattled Qatari, citing insufficient evidence. But the Kuala Lumpur-based AFC, which announced late Monday that it had suspended bin Hammam for 30 days over fresh corruption allegations, said the decision remained in force.
“As far as the AFC is concerned, bin Hammam remains under provisional suspension... for possible violations of the AFC statutes, AFC disciplinary code and AFC code of ethics,” said the statement.
The suspension followed an external audit of the confederation’s financial accounts, it had said.
The audit concerned ‘the negotiation and execution of certain contracts and with the financial transactions made in and out of AFC bank accounts and his personal account during the tenure of bin Hammam’s presidency’. The statement added that the alleged infringements included violations of AFC statutes on ethics, corruption, conflicts of interest, bribery and accepting gifts and other benefits.
Bin Hammam has been fighting charges that he tried to buy Fifa delegate votes in campaigning to unseat the world body’s long-standing president Sepp Blatter in a leadership election last year. He was provisionally replaced by Zhang Jilong, China’s former football boss, last year after nine years as AFC president pending appeals to clear his name.
Bin Hammam has denied wrongdoing in the Fifa presidential challenge, saying cash hand-outs he made during the election were merely gifts. He describes the charges and his punishment by Fifa as politically motivated.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2012.