Bin Hammam defiant on eve of World Cup verdicts

Geneva: Qatar football leader Mohamed Bin Hammam challenged a FIFA investigation to find evidence of collusion between his country and Spain in bidding contests to host the World Cup.

The FIFA executive committee member spoke at a sports
conference in Doha as an ethics court concluded a three-day
session at the governing body`s headquarters in Zurich to
examine vote-rigging allegations surrounding the 2018 and 2022

"Where is the corruption we are talking about?," Bin
Hammam asked at an event.

FIFA`s ethics panel is scheduled to rule today whether to
exclude 2018 candidate Spain-Portugal and 2022 bidder Qatar
from the Dec. 2 poll if they broke rules by making a
vote-swapping pact.

"It is nice to say that there is something wrong
happening between Qatar and Spain, or Qatar and any country,"
Bin Hammam said. "People in the media are talking about it
but, without investigating, what is this?"

FIFA declined comment on the ethics hearing yesterday,
and has not identified which bidders it is investigating for
suspected collusion.

However, the Qatari and Iberian bids were named by former
official Michel Zen-Ruffinen in a sting operation published by
a British newspaper last month.

Zen-Ruffinen, who succeeded Sepp Blatter to serve as
FIFA`s general secretary from 1998-2002, told reporters who
posed as lobbyists that Qatar and Spain had secured seven
votes from the 24-man FIFA executive body which chooses the
hosts in a secret ballot.

The newspaper earlier published interviews appearing to
show Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii offering their votes for
sale in exchange for football funding.

Adamu and Temarii deny wrongdoing but FIFA`s ethics
committee suspended them from duty last month until they could
plead their cases at full hearings.

The panel, chaired by lawyer and former Switzerland
international Claudio Sulser, is expected to announce Thursday
if the pair`s suspensions should be extended to bar them from

Four former FIFA executives - Tunisian lawyer Slim
Aloulou, Amadou Diakite of Mali, Botswana`s Ismail Bhamjee and
Ahongalu Fusimalohi from Tonga - also face sanctions after
reportedly advising undercover reporters how to bribe FIFA

FIFA president Blatter has called his executive
colleagues into emergency session tomorrow in Zurich to
respond to the rulings.

Blatter has said the vote can proceed with 22 or 23
members. A majority is needed to secure hosting rights for the
world`s most popular single-sport event.

The European contest for 2018 is between England, Russia
and the joint bids of Belgium-Netherlands and Spain-Portugal.
The 2022 race pits Qatar against the United States, Australia,
Japan and South Korea.

Bureau Report