Hammam Anticipates Ban; Possible Boycott
Writing on his blog in a posting composed as a note to his supporters, Mr. Bin Hammam said that “my legal team and I remain confident that the case and the evidence presented against me are weak and unsubstantiated. They are flimsy and will not stand up to scrutiny in any court of law; that has been clear throughout this process and it remains to be so.”
Mr. Bin Hammam went on to say that he was “not confident that the hearing will be conducted in the manner any of us would like. It seems likely that FIFA has already made its decision weeks ago. So, none of us should be completely surprised if a guilty verdict is returned. Following the events since my suspension, it now seems impossible, for them to say that they were wrong, although I wish they would have the courage to correct their mistake.”
He vowed that “justice will eventually prevail whether through the FIFA Ethics Committee, the Court of Arbitration of Sport or if necessary, through other courts or legal proceedings in courts where we will be equal and no special privileges will be granted to either party.”
Mr. Bin Hammam’s blog posting appeared to set the stage for his probable decision not to attend the committee hearing. By passing on the opportunity to defend himself, he effectively is attempting to undermine the hearing’s credibility.
Mr. Bin Hammam’s absence would most probably not stop the committee from pronouncing judgement, but promises to turn the proceedings into the first phase of a long and bitter legal and public relations battle at a time that FIFA is facing the worst scandal in its 107-year history.
Ten of the world body’s 24 executive committee members, including Mr. Blatter, have been accused at some point in the past nine months of corruption or improper behaviour. Mr. Blatter was cleared of any suspension in the same ethics committee meeting that suspended Mr. Bin Hammam. Two other executive committee members were banned for periods up to three years.