PtG Article 28.07.2012

FIFA’s Ethics Committee bans bin Hammam as new investigation begins

FIFA has provisionally suspended Mohamed Bin Hammam for 90 days, just one week after his lifetime ban from world football was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The new investigation could be a litmus test for FIFA’s new Ethics Committee. In a statement, FIFA said that Bin Hammam has been banned on the request of its new Ethics Committee led by Michael J. Garcia and Joachim Eckert.

According to FIFA, the Etichs Committee will assess a new PricewaterhouseCoopers report made for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), which last week led to another provisional suspension of Bin Hammam who held the presidency of the continental federation until his exit from football last year due to his alleged involvement in bribing Caribbean football officials up to the FIFA presidential election in 2011.

The AFC website writes that the new audit report “deals with a number of events surrounding the negotiation and execution of certain contracts and with the financial transactions made in and out of AFC bank accounts and his personal account during the tenure of Mr. Bin Hammam’s presidency”.

Secondly, the FIFA Ethics Committee will assess “the prospects of collecting further evidence relevant to the recently closed CAS proceedings in the case of Mr Mohamed Bin Hammam.“ Bin Hammam was found guilty in breach of FIFA’s code of ethics by the former ethics committee last year and was served a lifetime ban, which he then appealed to CAS.

Last week, CAS decided to overturn the ban saying that FIFA’s evidence had been insufficient. CAS said in its statement that  “this conclusion should not be taken to diminish the significance of its finding that it is more likely than not that Mr. Bin Hammam was the source of the monies that were brought into Trinidad and Tobago and eventually distributed at the meeting by Mr. Warner,” and that it would be possible to reopen the case if the court was presented with new evidence.

In the statement, CAS added that it was a case of not-proven and expressed concern about the fact that “the FIFA investigation was not complete or comprehensive enough to fill the gaps in the record” and that the investigation of Jack Warner’s role in the case was abandoned when he stepped down from his posts in FIFA.

In a comment on the recent CAS decision, Roger Pielke Jr. calls the verdict a victory for sports governance:

“This judgment represents a victory for the rule of law, for due process and for the notion that FIFA must conform to such norms rather than operate in an ad hoc manner” Pielke argues. Read Roger Pielke Jr.’s comment “bin Hammam vs. FIFA: A Victory for Sports Governance

Read FIFA’s reaction to the CAS decision

Read FIFA’s statement regarding the 90 day suspension of bin Hammam

Read the CAS media release regarding the case of Mohamed bin Hammam vs FIFA