Zurich: Asian football supremo Mohamed Bin Hammam was on Saturday banned from the game for life after being found guilty of corruption following a two-day hearing of FIFA`s ethics committee.
The 62-year-old Qatari, the president of the Asian Football Confederation ( AFC)), had been accused of trying to buy votes in the FIFA presidential election with $40,000 cash gifts to Caribbean football officials.
"The official Mr Bin Hammam is hereby banned from taking part in any kind of football activity at national or international level for life," said ethics committee deputy chairman Petrus Damaseb at FIFA headquarters.
Whistle-blowers said Bin Hammam tried to bribe officials to vote for him by distributing cash-stuffed envelopes during a Caribbean Football Union (CFU) meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on May 10-11.
CFU officials Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, also being investigated by the ethics committee over claims they helped hand out the money, were eached banned from football-related activity for a year.
Former FIFA vice-president and CONCACAF president Jack Warner was also charged over his alleged role in the affair, but his resignation from FIFA last month prompted the organisation to drop all the charges against him.
Bin Hammam`s subsequent withdrawal from the presidential election gifted a fourth straight term in office to his former ally Sepp Blatter, who made cleaning up FIFA`s tarnished image a post-election priority.
Bin Hammam had already all but conceded defeat prior to the announcement of the ethics committee`s verdict.
"It seems likely that FIFA has already made its decision weeks ago," he wrote in a blog post on Friday. "So none of us should be completely surprised if a guilty verdict is returned."
Friday`s 13-hour session did not wrap up until after 10:00 pm local time (2000GMT), while Saturday`s hearing began at around 9:00 am local time beneath grey skies in the Swiss financial capital.