22 Jun 2011

Velappan urges FIFA's Hammam to resign

12:15 pm on 22 June 2011

A former top official has claimed the Asian football president Mohamed bin Hammam should follow FIFA vice-chief Jack Warner and quit the sport after both were suspended over bribery claims.

Peter Velappan, the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) general secretary for 30 years until 2007, says not only bin Hammam, but FIFA's entire executive committee should resign as the sport seeks to clean up its image.

Bin Hammam was not available for comment after Warner's surprise resignation from all international football posts, three weeks after he was suspended over vote-rigging claims.

Velappan supported bin Hammam when he came to power in 2002 but the two later fell out.

He predicted the Qatari "will follow" Warner by stepping down, and says Asia's football leadership needed wholesale changes.

China's Zhang Jilong is the acting AFC president after bin Hammam was barred while FIFA investigates the corruption claims.

But Velappan says "two or three" candidates for the presidency may emerge if Hammam cannot clear his name.

Warner was one of FIFA's most controversial figures after a string of accusations against him, culminating in the allegations surrounding this month's FIFA presidential poll.

After Warner's resignation, the world body withdrew its investigation into the bribery claims against its vice-president and said "the presumption of innocence is maintained".