Mohamed bin Hammam will face no new charges over allegations that he bribed Caribbean officials during last year’s campaign for the FIFA presidency.
The Press Association Sport agency reports that the chairman of the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, Michael J. Garcia, has closed the case after failing to uncover any new evidence. The latest news comes after FIFA in October announced that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had rejected Bin Hammam’s appeal against his latest ban from football. FIFA stated in August that Garcia formally opened new investigation proceedings against Bin Hammam. These proceedings followed the provisional banning of the former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president for 90 days as established by the Ethics Committee on July 26. Former FBI director Louis Freeh had led FIFA’s probe into allegations that Bin Hammam attempted to bribe voters during last year’s FIFA presidential election campaign – an investigation that resulted in FIFA issuing a life ban to the Qatari official. This decision was overturned by CAS in July due to insufficient evidence. However, CAS had said the decision to annul Bin Hammam’s life ban was not “an affirmative finding of innocence” and that the case could be reopened with new evidence.
Garcia’s decision to now close the investigation in to the Caribbean allegations is contained in his confidential report to FIFA. It states: “This investigation focused on events that took place at the CFU (Caribbean Football Union) meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in May 2011. With respect to the events at the CFU conference, the investigation uncovered no new material proof beyond the substantial evidence presented during the proceedings that culminated with the CAS decision vacating Mr Bin Hammam’s ban. Accordingly, the Investigatory Chamber has closed this matter consistent with the CAS Panel’s guidance regarding newly discovered evidence.”
Bin Hammam remains provisionally suspended from all football activities concerning allegations of financial impropriety during his tenure as president of the AFC. Bin Hammam has continually maintained his innocence against the allegations laid against him, claiming his punishments are politically motivated after he challenged Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency. The 63-year-old’s legal team is continuing to contest the AFC allegations.