FIFA’s Bin Hammam Says Bribe Probe Should Be Extended to President Blatter

FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam, who’s facing a bribes probe ordered by soccer’s governing body, said the investigation should be extended to include incumbent president Sepp Blatter.

Hammam and Blatter are opponents in the race for the presidency, with the vote due to take place June 1.

Bin Hammam is accused by FIFA of offering $40,000 to Caribbean soccer officials as part of his pitch to take over the post, two people familiar with the situation said. He’s denied wrongdoing.

The head of soccer in Asia, Bin Hammam is alleged to have offered about $2 million in cash to delegates at a meeting in Trinidad as funds for “football development,” said the people, who asked for anonymity because they weren’t authorized to comment publicly on the case.

In an e-mailed statement today, Bin Hammam said he’s asked for Blatter to be included in the probe because -- as part of the evidence provided to FIFA -- there were statements suggesting the FIFA president “was informed of, and did not oppose” the alleged payments.

“The timing of the accusations so close to the election of FIFA president on June 1, 2011, suggests that they are part of a plan to damage Mr. Bin Hammam and force him to withdraw as a candidate for the FIFA presidency,” he said in the statement.

Blatter’s U.K.-based communications adviser, Brian Alexander, declined to comment on Bin Hammam’s statement.

Blatter, in a column earlier today on the Inside World Football website, said the charges made against Bin Hammam and Jack Warner, who oversees the sport in the Caribbean, “brought him no joy.” He said claims that the entire matter was somehow masterminded by him were “ludicrous and completely reprehensible.”

Warner has also denied wrongdoing.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter-Joseph Hegarty in London at phegarty@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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