London\/Kuala Lumpur: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chief Mohammad Bin Hammam, a candidate for FIFA's presidential election, Wednesday rubbished charges of bribery levelled against him by the world body.
Hammam, who is a FIFA executive committee member, along with FIFA vice-president Jack Warner and Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester will appear Sunday before the FIFA Ethics Committee. The election will take place June 1.
FIFA took the swift decision on a complaint of executive committee member Chuck Blazer, who reported an incident of bribery to secretary general Jerôme Valcke over possible violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics allegedly committed by named officials.
Reacting to the charges of bribery, Bin Hammam said: "This has been a difficult and painful day for me today. 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 FIFA presidential election."
FIFA said in a statement: "On 24 May, 2011, FIFA Executive Committee member and Concacaf general secretary Chuck Blazer reported to FIFA Secretary General Jerôme Valcke possible violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics allegedly committed by officials."
"In particular, the report referred to a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), apparently organised jointly by FIFA vice-president Jack A. Warner and FIFA Executive Committee member Mohamed bin Hammam, which took place on 10 and 11 May, 2011. This meeting was linked to the forthcoming FIFA presidential election," the statement added.
Hammam, however, stood by Warner, who was seen as a trusted aide of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, and said: "I remain deeply indebted to Mr. Warner for his sense of fair play because without his support and understanding I would not have been able to meet with several important Member Associations of FIFA to discuss my election manifesto. Here I completely deny any allegations of wrongdoing either intentionally or unknowingly while I was in the Caribbean."
"I will speak to Mr. Warner on this subject and offer him my full support in ensuring we are discharged honourably by the FIFA Ethics Committee, a body which I hold in the highest esteem. I am confident that there is no charge to answer and that I will be free to stand in the FIFA presidential election on June 1 as originally planned."
FIFA Ethics Committee chairman Claudio Sulser has declined to participate in the meeting due to the Swiss nationality he shares with Blatter, a candidate for the upcoming FIFA presidency. The meeting will be presided over by the deputy chairman of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Petrus Damaseb of Namibia.