8 Sep 2011

Bin Hammam claims racism a factor in his life ban

6:25 am on 8 September 2011

The disgraced Asian football chief Mohamed bin Hammam claims race was a factor in his lifetime ban from football over bribery charges, saying he'd never have been punished if he was European.

The Qatari banned in June after he was found guilty of trying to buy votes in the world football body's presidential race by offering Caribbean football officials $50,000 each to oust incumbent Sepp Blatter.

Bin Hammam made the race allegations in a letter to FIFA's ethics panel, in which he also wrote Blatter and secretary general Jerome Valcke should be investigated for corruption.

Bin Hammam has maintained his innocence and last month announced he had appealed the life ban.

The controversy has highlighted allegations of corruption in FIFA and sparked calls for reform of its governance structure, which anti-graft watchdog Transparency International has called opaque.