Football - 07 Dec 2012 - Fifa, soccer’s international governing body, is set to lay fresh charges against Mohamed bin Hammam, the suspended former president of the Asian Football Confederation, after completing an investigation into his financial affairs.
Fifa announced on Thursday that the Qatari official’s suspension, which was due to end today, had been extended because of the “seriousness of the violations” alleged to have been committed.
Michael Garcia, the chairman of the new investigatory chamber of the Fifa ethics committee, has notified bin Hammam, a former candidate for the Fifa presidency, that the probe is complete and has sent the files to Hans-Joachim Eckert, the head of the adjudicatory chamber.
Fifa said: “Based on the report, the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber has decided to provisionally ban bin Hammam given that a breach of the FCE [Fifa Code of Ethics] appears to have been committed and that a decision on the main substance of the case may not be taken early enough.”
On July 26, bin Hammam was suspended from all soccer activity for 90 days, and the suspension was subsequently extended by 45 days in late October, as Fifa continued with its investigation.
The initial suspension was imposed only a week after the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne overturned a lifetime ban on bin Hammam, citing a lack of evidence.
He had been banned after being found guilty of offering bribes to members of the Caribbean Football Union during his curtailed campaign for the presidency of Fifa.
Following the CAS verdict, Fifa launched a new investigation of bin Hammam, taking into account an audit of his financial management of the AFC.
However, Fifa, which has embarked on a reform programme after facing various allegations of corruption, will come in for further scrutiny itself on December 19, when the Council of Europe holds a meeting to consider the federation’s governance.
Those invited include bin Hammam, Jérôme Champagne, the former deputy secretary general of Fifa, and Sylvia Schenk of Transparency International.
Following the allegations of bribery, bin Hammam withdrew from the 2011 Fifa presidential election, leaving incumbent Sepp Blatter to be re-elected unopposed to serve a fourth term as Fifa president.
China’s Zhang Jilong has headed up the AFC in bin Hammam’s absence.
Elsewhere, Fifa is reported to have set a deadline of next Monday for the PSSI, the Indonesian soccer federation, to normalise the running of the sport in the country or face suspension.
The PSSI has been embroiled in a dispute with the breakaway KPSI over control of soccer in the large Asian country.
The two sides, which have been running separate domestic leagues, came to an agreement to run a single league this season and hold a Congress by December 10, but relations appear to have deteriorated again.
The Jakarta Post has quoted a letter sent to Indonesian sports minister Andi Mallarengeng by Fifa secretary general Jérôme Valcke, stating that “in case of failure [to adhere to the agreement], the case would be brought before the Fifa executive committee on December 14, 2012, in order to determine the sanctions, which could go as far as an indefinite suspension.”
It also quoted him as saying: “Unfortunately yet again, it seems that the set objectives will not be reached and we, therefore, anticipate that the PSSI will be sanctioned.”