Bin Hammam quits FIFA presidential race

Mohamed Bin Hammam withdrew his candidacy from next week’s FIFA presidential election on Sunday, hours before facing an inquiry into allegations that he bribed officials to win votes.

Bin Hammam issued a statement, in which he insisted that his pullout was not linked to Sunday’s hearing of the FIFA ethics committee, but was a driven by his intention to protect FIFA’s name.

“Recent events have left me hurt and disappointed – on a professional and personal level,” the 62-year-old Qatari said in the statement published on his website. “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.”

“I will not put my personal ambition ahead of FIFA’s dignity and integrity.”

Bin Hammam, who heads the Asian Football Confederation, was challenging current FIFA chief Sepp Blatter, who has headed the organization since 1998. Hammam’s withdrawal clears the path for Blatter to be reelected during the vote that will take place on June 1 during the organization’s congress in Zurich.

Blatter was also called before the ethics committee for his failure to investigate the allegations that Hammam offered bribes to FIFA officials in the Caribbean in a bid to secure the presidential post.

MOSCOW, May 29 (RIA Novosti)

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