Mohamed bin Hammam under fire

Updated: June 21, 2011, 10:43 AM ET
Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Mohamed bin Hammam should step down from the Asian Football Confederation over vote-buying allegations and FIFA's entire executive committee must be replaced in the wake of former vice president Jack Warner's decision to quit, a former Asian football executive said Tuesday.

Peter Velappan, the AFC's general secretary from 1978-2007, said Tuesday that bin Hammam should leave the AFC for the sake of the organization.

"He should just resign because of the allegations," Velappan said. "It would be good for football. This has been going on for so many years. He should follow Warner, strike a deal with FIFA and say goodbye."

AFC president bin Hammam of Qatar and Warner were suspended by FIFA last month after bribery allegations during bin Hammam's campaign to become FIFA president. Warner, of Trinidad and Tobago, resigned from FIFA on Monday, putting an end to his investigation by its ethics committee.

But Velappan said bin Hammam was just "the tip of the iceberg" and he said FIFA needed to be cleaned up from top to bottom starting with the 24-member executive committee. He said they all should go, including bin Hammam allies Vernon Manilal Fernando of Sri Lanka and Thailand's Worawi Makudi, who has been accused of engaging in "improper and unethical" conduct in the 2018 bidding for the World Cup that was won by Russia.

"The whole of the FIFA development structure is rampant with corruption both at the FIFA level and at the confederation level," Velappan said in a phone interview from Singapore. "It's best to give football a break."

Bin Hammam and two Caribbean Football Union employees are still provisionally barred from duty while facing accusations of paying bribes to up to 25 Caribbean voters during the Qatari's failed campaign to unseat FIFA president Sepp Blatter. All have denied any wrongdoing.

In the wake of the vote-buying allegations, bin Hammam withdrew from the FIFA presidential race last month leaving Blatter to run unopposed. Blatter was elected to a fourth and final four-year term.

Bin Hammam and Warner have denied arranging bribes, and the Qatari challenger alleged that supporters of Blatter conspired to remove him from the election contest.

Bin Hammam has not commented since he was suspended, and a spokesman for the AFC could not be immediately reached for comment.

David Triesman, the head of England's 2018 World Cup bid until last May last year, told British lawmakers last month that Makudi, Warner, Nicolas Leoz and Ricardo Teixeira and engaged in "improper and unethical" conduct during the World Cup bidding process. All four denied the allegations.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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