FIFA Provisionally Bans Mohamed Bin Hammam Amid Investigation

Soccer ruling body FIFA said it provisionally banned former Asian soccer chief Mohamed Bin Hammam for a maximum of 90 days from any activity related to the sport.

FIFA said it took the action to prevent any interference with an investigation into Bin Hammam by the organization’s ethics committee. Last week he was provisionally suspended by the Asian Football Confederation after an audit of the governing body’s accounts.

Former AFC President Bin Hammam was suspended for 30 days following a forensic audit that centered on contract negotiations and payments to and from AFC bank accounts.

Bin Hammam’s FIFA-imposed life ban from soccer was overturned by sport’s top court on July 19. It ruled that a FIFA-ordered inquiry by former FBI head Louis Freeh failed to find enough evidence that the ex-head of Asian soccer was the source of envelopes stuffed with $40,000 and handed to Caribbean officials before a vote on the FIFA presidency.

Qatari Bin Hammam challenged Sepp Blatter for the presidency last year but withdrew from the race.

He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said the charges against him are politically motivated. A text message sent to Bin Hammam wasn’t immediately returned.

FIFA said it’s looking into the AFC audit report as well as “assessing the prospects of collecting further evidence relevant to the recently closed Court of Arbitration for Sport proceedings.”

On July 17, FIFA named former U.S. attorney Michael J. Garcia as head investigator for its ethics committee and German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert to lead the adjudicatory branch. It said today that Eckert provisionally banned Bin Hammam at Garcia’s request.

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