Vowing to Clear Name, Bin Hammam Withdraws from FIFA Prez Race

Zurich, May 29 (IANS) Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohammad Bin Hammam Saturday withdrawn from the FIFA presidential race vowing to clear his name from bribery charges ahead of June 1 elections.

Both Bin Hammam and his rival FIFA president Sepp Blatter are under investigation and will appear before the FIFA Ethics and Code Committee over bribery charges. Bin Hammam has accused Blatter of knowing about alleged bribery.

"I pray that my withdrawal will not be tied to the investigation held by the FIFA Ethics Committee as I will appear before the Ethics Committee to clear my name from the baseless allegations that have been made against me," said Bin Hammam in a statement.

"I promise those who stood by me that I will walk with my head held high and will continue to fight for the good of the game. I would like to offer my thanks and appreciation to all Member Associations and individuals who supported me. I hope that they will not receive my decision with disappointment and frustration.

"I have a special thank you to my friend and colleague Jack Warner for his unlimited support. I am sorry to see that he has to suffer because of me, but I am promising him that I will be with him all the way through thick and thin.

"I look forward to working closely with my colleagues to restore FIFA's reputation to what it should be - a protector of the game that has credibility through honesty, transparency and accountability. I made the decision to run for the Fifa presidency because I was and remain committed to change within FIFA," he said.

Bin Hammam said that he was committed to make FIFA a transparent body for the good of football.

"I wanted the future to be bright for our world's governing body and for it to adapt to the ever-changing world we live in today. However, recent events have left me hurt and disappointed - on a professional and personal level," he said.

FIFA's three key officials -- Blatter, Bin Hammam and vice president Jack Warner -- along with Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester will now appear before the Code and Ethics Committee.

The ethics committee first asked bin Hammam, Warner, Minguell and Sylvester to appear before the committee on the basis of a complaint made by another FIFA committee member Chuck Blazer.

Blazer claimed that the violations of FIFA's code of ethics took place during a meeting organised by Bin Hammam and Warner for CFU members Trinidad two weeks ago.

Bin Hammam, however, said that Blatter knew about the payments made to some CFU officials but did not oppose it. The ethics committee had to summon Blatter to answer that charge as well.

FIFA's code of ethics rules state that as the complaint came from a member of the body's executive committee, the independent ethics committee must now also investigate Blatter.


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Title: Vowing to Clear Name, Bin Hammam Withdraws from FIFA Prez Race

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