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Warner facing FIFA probe

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Warner facing FIFA probe

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ZURICH – Mohamed bin Hammam is facing an ethics investigation just days before his attempt to unseat Sepp Blatter as FIFA president after a report alleging possible bribery rocked the election campaign yesterday.
Bin Hammam, the Qatari head of the Asian Football Confederation and the only man running against Blatter in the June 1 vote, was one of four officials summoned by FIFA to appear before its ethics committee on Sunday following a report from fellow executive committee member Chuck Blazer.
FIFA said in a statement it had opened ethics proceedings against Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, the president of the CONCACAF confederation, and two Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials as well as bin Hammam.
Blazer’s report, which included “bribery allegations,” referred to a CFU meeting which was attended by Warner and bin Hammam on May 10-11 and was linked to the election campaign, FIFA said.
The meeting, held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, was organised so bin Hammam could state his election case to delegates as he was unable to attend the CONCACAF Congress in Miami on May 3 after being denied a visa for the United States.
Unlike last year’s scandal, in which two executive committee members were banned following investigations by the Sunday Times newspaper, the allegations came from within FIFA for the first time.
Blazer, of the United States, is CONCACAF’s general secretary.
CONCACAF, the North and Central America and Caribbean Confederation, holds 35 of the 208 votes at the FIFA Congress that will choose between bin Hamman and incumbent President Blatter.
Warner has always been regarded as a staunch Blatter supporter but said that his confederation had not yet chosen who it would back this time.
FIFA would not comment on whether the election might now be postponed.
A spokesman for Blatter also said he would not comment and a bin Hammam spokesman said any comment would come via his website. (Reuters)