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France issues arrest warrant for ex-FIFA VP Bin Hammam over Qatar 2022 vote

September 28, 2023 at 11:45 am

Former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohammed bin Hammam at the AFC house in Kuala Lumpur on March 18, 2011 [SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images]

An arrest warrant has been issued in France against former FIFA Vice President and President of the Asia Football Confederation (AFC) Mohamed Bin Hammam (MBH) on corruption allegations. The Qatari national is considered to be a key suspect in French investigations into the controversial awarding of the 2022 World Cup to his home country.

According to a report in L’Equipe on Tuesday, citing a judicial source, the arrest warrant was issued on 22 June after the 74-year-old failed to respond to several summonses to appear before the financial investigating magistrate. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

MBH received a second lifetime ban from all football-related activities in 2012 after he was accused of buying votes in the governing body’s presidential race against disgraced former President Sepp Blatter. MBH was the president of the AFC from 2002 to 2011 and a member of FIFA’s executive committee during this timeframe.

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AFP reports that the current probe, which was launched in 2019, is focusing on the role played by MBH in the actions of Reynald Temarii, ex-president of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), on the eve of the vote that awarded the competition to the Gulf state in 2010, winning over contenders US, South Korea, Japan and Australia. Qatar went on to win the final round of voting 14-8 ahead of the US.

In 2014, a report by the Times brought to light the allegations against MBH, who is said to have given a series of bribes to other FIFA officials in exchange for their votes in favour of Qatar’s World Cup bid. French magistrates are also reportedly looking into whether Michel Platini, who was UEFA president at the time, sold his vote.

Last year, Le Monde reported that since his life-time ban, MBH “has been silenced by both Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani and his father and predecessor Hamad.”

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