Mohamed Bin Hammam withdraws from Fifa presidential election

May 29, 2011: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chief Mohamed Bin Hammam has sensationally withdrawn his candidacy from the Fifa presidential elections, which were due to be held on Wednesday June 1.

The AFC supremo was the only challenger to current incumbent Sepp Blatter in the race for the organisation's top job, but with the 62-year-old due to face Fifa's ethics committee on Sunday amid allegations of bribery, he has taken the decision to remove his name from consideration.

As a result, Blatter now looks set to be inaugurated for another term in the position he has held since succeeding Joao Havelange in 1998.

Bin Hammam, in addition to Blatter and Concacaf chief Jack Warner, will be questioned by the committee as accusations of corruption continue to blight the governing body, in respect of the recent World Cup 2018 and 2022 bidding process.

The Qatari official was thought to have been trailing Blatter as both men looked to garner backing for their respective bids, but his decision to take himself out of the reckoning will still be regarded as a major surprise.

Bin Hammam said on his official website: "I made the decision to run for the FIFA presidency because I was and remain committed to change within FIFA.

"However, recent events have left me hurt and disappointed - on a professional and personal level.

"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. This is not what I had in mind for FIFA and this is unacceptable. I cannot allow the name that I loved to be dragged more and more in the mud because of competition between two individuals. The game itself and the people who love it around the world must come first."

He went on to add: "I pray that my withdrawal will not be tied to the investigation held by the FIFA Ethics Committee as I will appear before the Ethics Committee to clear my name from the baseless allegations that have been made against me.

"I promise those who stood by me that I will walk with my head held high and will continue to fight for the good of the game. I would like to offer my thanks and appreciation to all Member Associations and individuals who supported me. I hope that they will not receive my decision with disappointment and frustration.

"I have a special thank you to my friend and colleague Jack Warner for his unlimited support. I am sorry to see that he has to suffer because of me, but I am promising him that I will be with him all the way through thick and thin."

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