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Context of 'May 29, 2011: FIFA Presidential Candidate Pulls Out of Race on Day of Ethics Committee Hearing'

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British newspaper The Observer states that Mohamed bin Hammam, a Qatari, president of the Asian Football Confederation, and a senior member of FIFA’s executive committee, voted for the Spain/Portugal bid for the 2018 World Cup in December 2010. Shortly before the vote, bin Hammam denied he had a deal with Spain/Portugal to vote for their bid for 2018 in return for them voting for Qatar in 2022 (see November 28, 2010). (Observer 5/1/2011) It is unclear how The Observer knows this, as information about who voted for which bid is secret. (BBC 12/2/2010)

The English Football Association says it will abstain from voting for one of the two candidates, Sepp Blatter and Mohamed bin Hammam, running for the position of president of FIFA. The decision is made because of allegations of corruption made against both men in recent months. “There are a well-reported range of issues both recent and current which, in the view of the FA board, make it difficult to support either candidate,” says the FA in a statement. “The FA values its relationships with its international partners very highly. We are determined to play an active and influential role through our representation within both UEFA and FIFA. We will continue to work hard to bring about any changes we think would benefit all of international football.” (BBC 5/19/2011)

Mohammed bin Hammam, the Qatari head of the Asian Football Confederation, pulls out of the race to become president of FIFA. His withdrawal means that the incumbent, Sepp Blatter, is unopposed in the election. Both bin Hammam and Blatter face corruption charges and are due to attend an ethics committee meeting today to answer allegations about their alleged involvement in bribery, ahead of the presidential vote in three days’ time. “It saddens me that standing up for the causes that I believed in has come at a great price—the degradation of FIFA’s reputation. This is not what I had in mind for FIFA and this is unacceptable,” says bin Hammam. “I cannot allow the game that I loved to be dragged more and more in the mud because of competition between two individuals. The game itself and the people who love it around the world must come first. It is for this reason that I announce my withdrawal from the presidential election.” (Gibson 5/28/2011)

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