May 29, 2011
Blatter cleared by FIFA ethics committee
Brian Homewood, Reuters
|FIFA President Sepp Blatter. (REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)
FIFA’s ethics committee cleared president Sepp Blatter in soccer’s bribery investigation on Sunday but temporarily suspended his former rival for the presidency Mohamed bin Hammam and vice-president Jack Warner.
The decision of the committee almost certainly clears 75-year-old Swiss incumbent Blatter to be re-elected unopposed in Wednesday’s presidential vote.
Bin Hammam dropped out of the race overnight, vowing to clear his name.
The ethics committee was called to open an investigation last week following a report by American FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer on a Port of Spain meeting involving Warner, Bin Hammam and Caribbean officials in May.
The report alleged that officials were offered inducements of $40,000 to vote for Bin Hamman in the election for the top job in world soccer.
The committee also investigated Blatter over a charge that he knew of the allegations about bribes being offered and failed to act on that information.
The committee said it was satisfied there was a case for Bin Hammam and Warner to answer, but stressed they were regarded as innocent until proven guilty.
“The committee concluded that the implicated officials must be temporarily excluded from active participation in football activities,” ethics committee deputy chairman Petrus Damaseb told reporters.
Two other Caribbean officials were also suspended, Damaseb said.
Both Bin Hammam and Warner, the president of the CONCACAF region that governs north and central America and the Caribbean, have denied the allegations.