Monday, December 17, 2012

Bizarre Ending to FIFA vs. bin Hammam

So the long-running battle between FIFA and Mohammed bin Hammam has apparently come to and end. In a statement released today FIFA says that bin Hammam has been banned from football for life, a judgment that -- apparently -- he appears ready to accept.

The judgment is absolutely bizarre because bin Hammam's ban is apparently based on the application of ethics provisions passed in 2012 to his actions conducted 2005-2011. The application of current standards to sanction past behavior was judged illegitimate by Sepp Blatter when he defended FIFA in the ISL affair, explaining that FIFA's kickbacks/bribes in that scandal were not then illegal under Swiss law.

Also bizarre is that fact that bin Hammam would, on the surface, appear to have a tailor made case for appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where he already won a judgment against FIFA for its appaling lack of due process. Why he is not appealing speaks to the likelihood of skeletons in the closet or some other sort of incentive not readily apparent .

Here is the FIFA statement in full:
Mr Mohamed Bin Hammam, FIFA Executive Committee member and AFC President, has resigned from all his positions in football with immediate effect and will never be active in organised football again. This results from a resignation letter of Mr Bin Hammam addressed to FIFA and AFC dated on 15 December 2012.

In view of the fact that under the new FIFA Code of Ethics, the FIFA Ethics Committee remains competent to render a decision even if a person resigns, the Adjudicatory Chamber decided to ban Mohamed Bin Hammam from all football-related activity for life.

This life ban is based on the final report of Michael J. Garcia, Chairman of the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee. That report showed repeated violations of Article 19 (Conflict of Interest) of the FIFA Code of Ethics, edition 2012, of Mohamed Bin Hammam during his terms as AFC President and as member of the FIFA Executive Committee in the years 2008 to 2011, which justified a life-long ban from all football related activity.
What FIFA has not released includes:
  • The specific charges against bin Hammam
  • The evidence against him
  • Michael Garcia's final report
There is obviously much here outside the public view. The only thing that is perfectly clear is that FIFA has a long way to go on issues of due process and transparency. FIFA's actions on bin Hammam indicate that not much has changed in how FIFA does its business.


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