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Bin Hammam loses FIFA appeal against life ban

AFC President Mohammed Bin Hammam speaks during a news conference before the 2011 Asian Cup final soccer match between Japan and Australia a
AFC President Mohammed Bin Hammam speaks during a news conference before the 2011 Asian Cup final soccer match between Japan and Australia a

By Brian Homewood

BERNE (Reuters) - Former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam has lost his appeal against a life ban for his part in a cash-for-votes scandal, one of several recent controversies to hit world soccer.

"The appeal made by Mohamed Bin Hammam has been rejected and the decision of the FIFA ethics committee confirmed," FIFA said in a statement on Thursday.

"The sanction of being banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level for life has therefore been maintained."

Former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA executive committee member Bin Hammam confirmed through his lawyer Eugene Gulland that he would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Gulland said the Qatari would also challenge the decision to designate Zhang Jilong as acting AFC president and appoint him to the FIFA executive committee.

Bin Hammam challenged Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency earlier this year.

He withdrew his candidacy, and was then provisionally suspended, days before the June election over allegations that he had tried to buy the votes of Caribbean officials by handing them $40,000 each in brown envelopes.

Blatter was subsequently re-elected unopposed for a fourth term as FIFA president.

Qatari Bin Hammam was then banned for life by FIFA's ethics committee in July after being found to have broken seven articles of the ethics code, including one on bribery.

Former CONCACAF president Jack Warner, considered a major FIFA powerbroker, resigned in June after he was also accused of wrongdoing at the same meeting as Bin Hammam in Trinidad on May 10-11.

The investigation against Warner was dropped as a result of his resignation.

A further 16 Caribbean officials, eight of them heads of their national federations, were placed under investigation by FIFA's ethics committee last month.

Bin Hammam has denied the allegations against him.

"Bin Hammam has already gone on record stating that he was not optimistic of justice prevailing from the FIFA appeals process but this was a protocol to enable him to obtain access to CAS," said his lawyer's statement.

"We also continue to champion the need for transparency and call on FIFA to publish the transcripts of the appeals panel as well as that of the Ethics Committee proceedings in July."

FIFA said the three-man appeal committee consisted of Francisco Acosta (Ecuador), Fernando Mitjans (Argentina) and Augustin Senghor (Senegal).

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Justin Palmer)

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