Banned Bin Hammam to appear at meeting on FIFA governance

(Reuters) – The Council of Europe will hold a meeting later this month looking into FIFA’s governance of world soccer with suspended Asian soccer boss Mohamed Bin Hammam among those scheduled to participate.

Qatari Bin Hammam, long sidelined by FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation in the wake of corruption allegations, would be joined by former FIFA deputy secretary general Jerome Champagne and Transparency International’s Sylvia Schenk at the Dec. 19 meeting in Paris, according to an agenda on the Council’s website.

Ex-English Football Association chairman David Triesman would also participate in the meeting held by the Council’s committee on culture, science, education and media.

The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe is an organisation of 47 member states promoting human rights and democracy.

FIFA have long faced questions about their governance with president Sepp Blatter attempting to reform the body after numerous suspensions of senior officials for corruption in recent years.

On Thursday, FIFA’s ethics committee completed its latest investigation into former presidential candidate Bin Hammam and extended his provisional ban pending a final verdict.

The 63-year-old was first banned by FIFA in July, 2011 for alleged bribery during his failed bid to oust Blatter in the presidential race to head world soccer’s governing body.

In July, the life ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport but Bin Hammam has remained sidelined by continuous suspensions handed out first by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), for financial wrongdoing, and then FIFA.

Bin Hammam, who was elected unopposed for a third and final four-year term as the head of the AFC in Jan. 2011, has long pleaded innocence and complained his punishments have come because he challenged Blatter’s leadership.

The AFC said last week they hoped to elect a new president by April, subject to the approval of their legal department.

Champagne, a former director of international relations of FIFA where he was one of Blatter’s chief advisors, left the organisation more than two years ago.

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