It is less than a week before the FIFA presidential election, two old time inseparable friends are going head to head in what promises to be a bruising battle to lead world football.
Mohammed Bin Hammam, a Qatari billionaire whom just six months ago was bunking in the sunshine after helping his tiny wealthy country get the nod to host and organize the controversially awarded 2022 World Cup tournament, is challenging the incumbent FIFA president Sepp Blatter an old time streetwise tactician. Surely there’s going to blood on the floor during this battle.
Bin Hammam is fighting for his football career, together with Jack Austin Warner have been accused of allegations of fraud and corruption by trying to bribe CFU (Caribbean Football Union) officials during its special congress in Port Of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. These actions were in direct contravention of the FIFA ethical code, and therefore Bin Hammam has a case to answer.
It is alleged this congress had been organized by Jack Warner in order to afford his Qatari friend an opportunity to state his case before the congress on his FIFA presidential ambitions after he was shutout at the CONCACAF congress in Miami due to visa issues. Another Blatter tactic?
The man from Doha has a dark cloud hanging over him, and in two days’ time, he has to appear before FIFA ethics committee to try and clear his name that been tarnished by the scandal that sent shockwaves around the world. However, he doesn’t trust this committee to give him a fair hearing, as those man serves at the behest of the president.
As they say in politics nothing is permanent the same goes in football. Bin Hamman had been instrumental in campaigning for Blatter to become FIFA president way back in 1998, and even offering his own private jet for Blatter’s worldwide junket to garner votes. Just a few days before the presidential vote in Paris, Bin Hammam received a frantic call from his wife back in Doha that his son has been involved in a terrible accident and in a critical state a matter of life and death, which he has to return home at once. “My son doesn’t need me he needs god and the doctors around him, and I’m here president Blatter needs me, ” said Bin Hammam end o the story, he remained in Paris to ensure that his Swiss friend is crowned president. Fortunately, his son managed to survive and was well on road to recovery.
Fast forward to the year 2011, it was heartbreaking to see the two most powerful men and so called friends in world football becoming enemies which will be detrimental to the sport and might cause serious division if not handled properly. Something needed to be done urgently. A deal a sweetener must be put forward as soon as possible.
There were rumblings with the way in which Qatar was awarded the rights to host the 2022 tournament despite reservations around that Qatar high summer temperatures, which are not conducive to play any football and pose a serious danger to players. Adding to the allegations that Qatar paid bribes to certain officials to vote in their favor. Blatter the old fox was at his best now, coming on and giving a mixed message about the Qatari world cup and at some point hinting a possible re-vote. Surely somewhere here there’s has to be a solution.
Just 3 days before the presidential ballot taking place, Bin Hammam was summoned to a meeting at FIFA house with his old time friend Mr. JS Blatter. Also at that meeting, there was a representative of the Qatar royal family and this got Bin Hammam mind to go into overdrive. This is the moment of truth… A deal is presented to him: Withdraw from the presidential contest and Qatar 2022 World Cup is safe cannot be touched and therefore no re-vote.
“And what about my case before the ethics committee?” asked Bin Hammam
“There’s no candidate, and there’s no case at all” Blatter respondent calmly. Wow, that’s vintage Blatter in his perfect elements cards well played. The ball is in now sitting firmly on Bin Hammam’s turf. He’s got a choice to make Left or Right, East or West, Street or Avenue? The choice is yours.
Damn that was a hard pill to swallow, how Blatter can try to destroy a man who stood by him when everyone else was running for cover. The choice has just become clearer for the Qatari billionaire. He must step down and let Blatter go for the presidency for another four years unopposed so they fend off any fear of a revote.
Later that night Bin Hammam obliged and withdrew from the ballot. The following afternoon he appeared before the FIFA ethics committee and to his shock he was found guilty of contravening FIFA’s ethical code……Okay where is our deal now, Blatter is nowhere to found, he ran for cover. “Let the law take its course, however, they will be no revote on 2022 world cup” quipped Blatter.
Bin Hammam has been thrown to the wolves and eventually suspended from all football activities for a two-year period. Once again Blatter outperformed and knifed him in the process.
Was this a good deal or not? You be the judge.