Blatter accused of sullying FIFA's image

by AP on May 13, 2011

0 comments | | print

With FIFA embroiled in a World Cup bribery scandal, presidential challenger Mohamed bin Hammam accused Sepp Blatter of allowing the governing body's image to be "sullied beyond compare".

Blatter, meanwhile, picked up a key endorsement from a regional bloc in his bid for re-election on June 1.

English claims that six members of FIFA's executive committee were involved in corruption during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests have thrown Blatter's bid to control the campaign agenda into disarray.

Since the accusations were made in the British parliament this week, FIFA demanded to see evidence to back up the claims against a quarter of the 24-man group that runs world football.

Qatar's Bin Hammam, head of the Asian Football Confederation which includes Australia, responded to the ethics crisis by criticising Blatter.

"I firmly believe FIFA, as a decision-making body and as an organisation, is not corrupt," he wrote on his blog.

"However, under the current status quo it is impossible to deny that the governing body's reputation has been sullied beyond compare and it is time for that to change."

Bin Hammam added something urgently needed to be done to improve and enhance the image of FIFA in light of the accusations.

Bin Hammam was instrumental in delivering the 2022 World Cup to Qatar and has dismissed suggestions there was any wrongdoing in connection with the bid.

A British parliamentary inquiry was told two FIFA executives allegedly were paid $US1.5 million to vote for Qatar.

"Much wonderful work is done by FIFA and to label the entire organisation corrupt would be to tarnish the efforts of all those who operate tirelessly to bring all that is positively associated with our sport to people all over the globe," Bin Hammam wrote.

He also criticised Blatter for spending FIFA's money "arbitrarily" by donating $US29 million to Interpol to tackle match-fixing and betting fraud over the next decade, without consulting the executive committee.

"It is just another example of the current regime choosing to run football how it sees fit, rather than doing so in a manner that is consistent with the governing body's proper procedures," he wrote.

"Imagine FIFA financing Interpol's activities!"

Blatter, who has promised to resolve the crisis before the election, has won the backing of the Oceania Football Confederation for the ballot.

OC boss David Chung said Blatter's leadership had been a positive force in the region.

"All members agreed that the current FIFA administration has had a significant impact on the development and popularity of football across the Pacific," Chung said in a statement.

Blatter, FIFA president since 1998, has also been publicly supported by leaders of European authority UEFA.