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Sunday, May 29, 2011
Blatter escapes, Bin Hammam banned

ESPNsoccernet staff

FIFA's ethics committee has ruled that "no investigation is warranted'' against president Sepp Blatter in relation to bribery allegations, but Jack Warner and Mohamed Bin Hammam have been handed temporary suspensions.

• Bin Hammam withdraws from election
• Platini rules out FIFA role
• Warner: FIFA 'tsunami' on way
• Bin Hammam claims a conspiracy

Both Warner and Bin Hammam have been suspended from all football-related activity pending the outcome of a full inquiry into accusations that they offered financial incentives to members of the Caribbean Football Union.

However, a complaint against FIFA president Blatter that he knew about the payments to officials was rejected by the committee.

Bin Hammam and Warner are accused of handing over bundles of cash, each of 40,000 US dollars, to Caribbean football officials and Petrus Damaseb, the Namibian judge presiding over the ethics committee, said there was enough evidence against them to justify them being suspended pending the full inquiry.

He told a news conference in Zurich: "Mr Bin Hammam is hereby provisionally banned from taking part in any football-related activity until FIFA's ethics committee take a decision on this matter, and the same decision for Mr Jack Warner.''

Two officials from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, who were alleged to have handed over the money have also been suspended pending a full inquiry.

Blatter was accused by Bin Hammam of knowing about the payments and not reporting them but he told the ethics committee he had warned Warner that any such payments were not appropriate.

Damaseb said: "The committee took the view that the obligation to report did not arise because at that stage no wrongdoing had occurred.''

Blatter said in a statement: "The FIFA ethics committee has reached its decisions. I do not wish to comment in detail. But simply to say that I regret what has happened in the last few days and weeks. FIFA's image has suffered a great deal as a result, much to the disappointment of FIFA itself and all football fans.''

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke also revealed that the presidential election will go ahead as planned on Wednesday, despite Bin Hammam withdrawing his candidature on Sunday.

Valcke said the presidential election would take place on June 1 as planned with Blatter as the only candidate, but that the FIFA Congress of 208 nations could decide to change this if there was a 75% majority.

Meanwhile, a report commissioned by the FA into ex-chairman Lord Triesman's allegations of impropriety by four FIFA members, including Warner, has found no meaningful evidence to back up the claims.

Triesman said the four had asked for cash or favours to support England's 2018 bid but evidence from other England officials had not supported these claims, with Valcke saying: "They are completely clean."




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