Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam accuses Fifa over lifetime ban

Former Fifa presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam says his ban from football is an act of "revenge".

The Qatari, 62, was handed a lifetime ban by Fifa on Saturday after being found guilty of attempted bribery.

But Bin Hammam, who stood against Fifa president Sepp Blatter, told the BBC's Sportsweek programme: "I was expecting a lifetime ban, actually. That shows how full of revenge these people are.

"The ban was decided before the investigation even started."

The ethics committee of world football's governing body made the decision after a two-day hearing, with Bin Hammam accused of attempting to buy votes ahead of June's Fifa presidential election, which he later withdrew from.

That allowed Sepp Blatter to be re-elected unopposed, with Bin Hammam - the most senior figure to be banned by Fifa in its 107-year history - instead fighting to clear his name.

The former head of the Asian Football Confederation did not attend the ethics committee hearing in Zurich and now believes only the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) in Lausanne can give him justice.

"My legal team were almost sure that Fifa would use my appearance for their own purpose and not for the purpose of the trial," added Bin Hammam.

"We didn't know what the accusations were so wrote to Fifa. They said I would find out on 22 July. From that, you know Fifa has already taken the decision, they only want a platform to announce it.

"The first step now is the appeal committee of Fifa, but that is another kangaroo court. The civil court in Switzerland, Cas, that is where we believe we will get the necessary justice."

Bin Hammam also took the opportunity to try to clear his name once more.

"We did nothing wrong," he said. "We were in compliance with the rules and regulations of Fifa. I still don't know what the accusations are.

"I have absolutely never paid anyone for their support, no way. Let me make this clear - I have never paid money for votes in all my life."

Fifa member Chuck Blazer has welcomed the life ban for Bin Hammam as a warning to anyone in football tempted into corruption.

"I believe vote-buying is unacceptable and I felt that had to be said widely," said Blazer. "Clearly I am very glad the ethics committee has confirmed that, regarding bribery, we have zero tolerance.

"It sets a precedent and one that I fully support. It's a very good day for football in that it has been demonstrated that the process we adopted five years ago with the ethics code and committee is able to work.

"It will send notice to anybody else that might be considering that type of corrupt activity that Fifa is not the place to try it."

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