Bin Hammam denies 'vote-buying' in FIFA race

AFP, Thursday 28 Apr 2011

FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam on Thursday denied trying to buy votes with financial aid in his campaign to unseat world football supremo Sepp Blatter

Bin Hammam
(Photo: Reuters)

Bin Hammam, in London to meet with senior members of the English FA ahead of the June 1 election, has vowed to double the current financial support paid annually to FIFA members to $500,000.

However the 61-year-old head of the Asian Football Confederation rejected suggestions that the generous increase in money for development projects were a form of vote-buying.

"People want to hear what the candidate is going to help them with," Bin Hammam said.

"The need for the funds is essential for national associations - they need to have development projects, national teams, youth teams, facilities and it all costs money," Bin Hammam said.

"This is not an improper act - people should know what I'm planning."

Bin Hammam's pledges to increase disbursements have been followed by similar pledges from FIFA president Blatter. The 75-year-old Swiss incumbent responded with a vow to set aside more than $1 billion over four years.

Bin Hammam meanwhile said he was "well placed" in his bid to dethrone Blatter, indicating he had received widespread support since declaring his candidacy.

"I have had a lot of support since declaring my manifesto and I think I am well placed," the Qatari said.

"I said when I announce my candidacy that my chances were 50-50 and although I would not change that figure I am feeling confident."

The FA has said it will decide on who to support in the FIFA election on May 19 but Bin Hammam said he would not seek to exploit ill-feeling towards FIFA caused by England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.

"I will not try to misuse this - I am more interested in explaining myself and my manifesto," Bin Hammam said.

"I have a good relationship with the FA and the Premier League and I hope every member association will give me the opportunity to present my vision for the future."

Bin Hammam also said he hoped the final weeks of the election campaign would not be marred by personal attacks.

"I hope it will remain a fair-play one. I'm only interested in doing what I can to promote myself, to speak about my business, my manifesto."

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