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FIFA bans bin Hammam, one-time presidential challenger, for life

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • FIFA's ethics committee bars Mohamed bin Hammam from all "football-related activity"
  • He'd been accused of trying to bribe voters in his bid to become FIFA's president
  • The Qatari has maintained his innocence
  • The man who'd accused bin Hamman, Chuck Blazer, is warned for comments he'd made
  • Mohammed Bin Hammam
  • FIFA
  • Soccer

(CNN) -- Soccer's global governing body on Saturday banned for life a man for what they called his actions, months earlier, to use bribes to be elected as its top executive.

The ethics committee for FIFA announced it was banning Mohamed bin Hammam from "taking part in any kind of football-related activity" nationally or internationally for life, the organization stated on its website. It was one of a number of such suspensions handed down this weekend by the committee, which is chaired by Petrus Damaseb of Namibia.

The ex-head of the Asian Football Confederation had been suspended pending an investigation on May 29, having been accused of trying to buy votes in his bid to win the July 1 election against incumbent Sepp Blatter.

He has maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal, writing on website Friday that "the evidence presented against me are weak and unsubstantiated."

"They are flimsy and will not stand up to scrutiny in any court of law; that has been clear throughout this process and it remains to be so," wrote bin Hammam, who had been a member of FIFA's executive committee.

Bin Hammam withdrew from the presidential election in the wake of the accusations, leaving no challengers for the 75-year-old Blatter as he cruised to his election for a fourth term.

The Qatari, 62, had been a major influence in his home nation's surprising victory in winning the right to host the 2022 World Cup finals.

He had been accused of illicitly plotting with Jack Warner, a former head of the soccer organization in North and Central America and the Caribbean. The investigation against Warner, who faced similar charges to bin Hammam, were dropped -- under the presumption of innocence -- after the Trinidian resigned in June.

In addition to bin Hammam, FIFA's ethics committee formally warned the man who had raised the bribery allegations against the Qatari.

Chuck Blazer, also an executive committee member, was warned for comments that he'd made on May 30 during a meeting in Zurich in which he suggested some Caribbean Football Union members were "under investigation." FIFA, on its website, noted that this claim was not true.

FIFA's ethics committee on Saturday did ban two members of of that same Caribbean organization -- Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester -- from taking part in any soccer-related activity for one year.