AFC chief denounces 'intimidation' by former head
Updated: 2012-10-18 13:27
KUALA LUMPUR - Asian Football Confederation Acting President Zhang Jilong has rejected the accusations by Mohamed Bin Hammam, saying the "intimidation" of the former AFC chief was aimed at covering-up the wrongdoing during his tenure.
In response to a letter by the Qatari through his lawyer earlier this month, Zhang has written to AFC's Member Associations, the AFC Executive Committee and FIFA and rejected the allegation that he had a "conflict of interest in the ongoing AFC Disciplinary Committee action against Bin Hammam" and that "he personally benefited from Bin Hammam support," AFC said in a press release on Wednesday.
Zhang denounced the letter as "total fabrications," designed to tear apart AFC while trying to "confusing and delaying the Disciplinary Action against Bin Hammam."
The plan by Bin Hammam and his lawyers was "intimidate and create technical legal issues and objections in the hope that the more serious allegations of secret commissions, bribery, corruption and other wrongdoing are never exposed to the light of day," Zhang said.
Bin Hammam has recently intensified his attacks against Zhang, who took over as AFC chief after the Qatari was banned by FIFA for trying to buy votes during the FIFA presidential race last year.
Although he won an appeal against FIFA's lifetime ban in Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland, the Qatari is still under provisional ban from taking part in any kind of football activities by FIFA.
He is also under investigations by AFC for alleged infringements of the AFC Statutes, the AFC Disciplinary Code, and the AFC Code of Ethics during his tenure as AFC president.
Zhang noted that Bin Hammam had violated FIFA's provisional ban by communicated with AFC's member associations, while stressing that at no stage had he interfered with the ongoing disciplinary action against his predecessor.
Zhang called on the AFC's member associations to stay firm in the face of these diversionary tactics.
"And we have a simple choice to make in the face of the distractions being thrown in our direction. We can decide to roll up ourselves and do the work such as amending our controlling statutes to put in place comprehensive by-laws and regulations which actually create a system of governance that leads to transparency and accountability."
"Or, we can ignore the truth and go back to business like it was before while pretending that it is acceptable for one man to assume control of this Football Confederation and run it like it was his own private business,"he said.