DOHA, (Reuters) – Banned Asian soccer president Mohamed Bin Hammam launched an appeal against his lifetime ban by FIFA but said in a strongly worded statement yesterday that he did not expect to clear his name yet despite the decision being ‘hugely flawed.’
The 62-year-old Qatari was given a lifetime ban from soccer by the world governing body last month after being found guilty of bribing Caribbean officials during his bid to oust incumbent FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
In a statement on his personal blog, the former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president said he had appealed after FIFA released the motivated decisions of the Ethics Committee, who banned him, last week.
“I have submitted my case to the FIFA Appeals Committee, not hoping for justice to prevail but as a protocol to enable me to obtain access to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS),” the Qatari said (www.mohamedbinhammam.com).
“After all, the panel from the Appeals Committee is decided by my opponent and in this case, as previously, the judge is the rival. Therefore, I should not exaggerate hope for a fair decision.
“Going through the motivated decisions, we found them to be deeply flawed and raises grave doubts on whether any decision-making body of FIFA has sufficient independence to ensure a fair decision based solely on evidence and applicable laws.
“Based on our experiences, we expect the appeal process and decision to take approximately two months, not because this time is necessarily needed but more due to FIFA’s tactical games and abuse of power, as evident throughout this case.”
Bin Hammam faces a race against time if he wants to return to the role of AFC president, a role he has held since 2002.
Last month, acting president AFC president Zhang Jilong of China said after their executive committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur that they would not be able to replace Bin Hammam until after May 30.