Asian Football Confederation president and FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam has been charged with offering bribes in exchange for votes in the upcoming FIFA presidential election and will have to appear in front of the FIFA ethics committee on May 29, but he wants FIFA to also investigate current FIFA president Sepp Blatter. While bin Hammam has been accused of offering cash bribes, he has accused Blatter of effectively approving the alleged payments.
On Thursday, bin Hammam formally wrotes to FIFA's general secretary Jerome Valcke, asking him to expand the probe to include Blatter. FIFA's code of ethics states that any member of FIFA is under the obligation to "report any evidence of violations of conduct to the FIFA secretary general." The general secretary will then forward any allegations to the ethics committee. If FIFA opens an investigation into Blatter's knowledge of the alleged bribery and it is found that he did know of it, he too could face sanctions.
Blatter is running for a fourth term as FIFA president and has oversen arguably the rockiest stretch in FIFA's history. Dating back to November, just prior to FIFA controversially deciding to award the right to host the 2018 World Cup to Russia and 2022 World Cup to Qatar, nine of FIFA's 24-member executive committee members have been accused of corruption.
The latest allegations are against bin Hammam, CONCACAF president and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner and two members of the Caribbean Football Union. The four are under investigation after FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer and a member of FIFA's legal committee gathered evidence against all four, including sworn affidavits from witnesses. Allegedly, all four were involved in a bribery scheme that included cash bribes in exchange for members voting for bin Hammam in the June 1 presidential election.
In a statement bin Hammam said that the allegations against him were "without substance." He went on to add that "the accusations also contain statements according to which Mr Blatter, the incumbent FIFA president, was informed of, but did not oppose, payments allegedly made to members of the Caribbean Football Union."
It appears as if bin Hammam is found guilty of the bribery and barred from FIFA, he is set on taking down Blatter with him. It is another step in what is seemingly becoming a FIFA civil war. If the ethics committee suspends bin Hammam and he is ineligible to run for FIFA president, Blatter will win unopposed. Should that happen and Blatter is also suspended, Valcke will take over as FIFA president on a temporary basis.