Thursday, July 19, 2012


The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has today announced that the FIFA ban on Mohammed Bin Hammam has been overturned. FIFA had banned Mr. Bin Hammam from "any kind of football related activity for life" after finding him guilty of taking bribes from Caribbean football officials. The whole scandal resulted directly in Mr. Jack Warner also resigning from FIFA. The CAS said that there was insufficient evidence to support the ban.

The scandal arose when Mr. Bin Hammam had challenged Mr Sepp Blatter for the leadership of FIFA. Mr. Warner had made the mistake of supporting Mr. Bim Hammam against the very powerful Mr. Blatter. When FIFA had handed down the ban on the hapless Mr. Bim Hammam the world's premier football organisation had said that there was "comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming" proof that bribes had been paid by Mr. Bim Hammam to Caribbean officials and that Mr. Warner had supported this.

The CAS has said that its finding is not so much a case of innocence as it is a finding of "case not proven" and that if new evidence comes forward it might be possible to re-open the case. Well, if such new evidence does ever comes forward then we shall see what we shall see. But my point here is to re-emphasise the point that I made last week in my last post which criticised President Richards for, amongst other things, descending into an arena where he condemned Mr. Warner for his part in this particular scandal. At the time of the FIFA scandal I kept quiet because I did not have enough facts at my disposal to comment one way or the other, although I felt certain that Mr. Bim Hammam (and by extension Mr. Warner) was not getting a fair hearing by the FIFA Ethics Committee. Time has proved my gut feeling to be right.

As I said last week and will say again: in this society of ours we are often too quick to condemn without being in possession of all of the facts and then when they do eventually come out showing that at the very least there is not enough justiciable evidence we remain obstinate and refuse to give the accused teh benefit of the doubt. The CAS has not given Messrs. Warner and Bim Hammam a completely clean bill of health, but it has solidly backed the accusations that the FIFA Ethics Committee did not give the accused a fair and impartial hearing. Mr. Blatter is bound to have a problem now because there is the very ugly inference that he engineered these charges to be brought against these men in order to secure his own re-election as President of FIFA. Whether that is true or not I certainly cannot say, but the truth is that this very ugly suspicion is "out there" and will not go away just like that.

We must be careful in what we do and say. And we must demand of our leaders that they also be careful. Leadership is not just about "picking up a sword" and leading a charge. Amongst other things leadership is about practising high principles of behaviour and ethics. Leading by example anyone?!

1 comment:

  1. Now that the full CAS judgement has been released, including their conclusion that Warner was not a reliable witness, will you be updating this post?