WORLD governing body Fifa’s reputation took another buffeting yesterday when presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam was forced to deny allegations of his involvement in a bribery scandal.
Bin Hammam rejected accusations made by Chuck Blazer, an American member of Fifa’s influential executive committee, that the Qatari and vice-president Jack Warner arranged a meeting with the Caribbean Football Union about next month’s elections at which cash was offered.
It is the latest in a series of damaging claims of impropriety levelled at members of Fifa’s inner circle in recent months. Fifa’s ethics committee has opened an investigation and will question the pair – two of the most powerful men in the game – on Sunday.
Bin Hammam countered the claims by suggesting they originated from supporters of Sepp Blatter, the current president who is standing for re-election on 1 June.
“This has been a difficult and painful day for me,” said the head of the Asian Football Confederation. “But, if there is even the slightest justice in the world, these allegations will vanish in the wind.
“This move is little more than a tactic being used by those who have no confidence in their own ability to emerge successfully from the presidential election.”
Warner also defended himself, saying: “I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part and I shall listen to allegations made and respond accordingly.
“It is interesting to note the timing of these allegations and the hearing scheduled days before the FIFA presidential elections.”
Two officials from the CFU are also being investigated in relation to the meeting, which took place earlier this month.