sport

Bin Hammam could have beaten Sepp

Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner claims Mohamed Bin Hammam had a "great chance" of beating Sepp Blatter in the FIFA presidential race.

FIFA's ethics investigator has closed the case into the bribery allegations against Bin Hammam after failing to uncover new evidence.

Warner, who resigned from football after himself being charged with bribery, said he felt vindicated by FIFA's decision to close the investigation.

Warner said he always knew that neither he nor Bin Hamman had committed any offence during the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) meeting in Trinidad in May 2011. Bin Hammam was banned for life by FIFA but had that overturned in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Warner, now minister of national security in Trinidad and Tobago, said: "I must really extend sincere congratulations to my former colleague in FIFA for taking the battle all the way to CAS.

"This happened at a time when he was challenging for the presidency of FIFA. It is unfortunate that these allegations derailed Bin Hammam's chances which I thought were very good.

"Bin Hammam had a great chance of being the new FIFA president."

Warner said he has no intention of returning to FIFA.

FIFA's chief ethics investigator, Michael J Garcia, decided to close the case.

"This investigation focused on events that took place at the CFU meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in May 2011," his confidential report to FIFA read.

"With respect to the events at the CFU conference, the investigation uncovered no new material proof beyond the substantial evidence presented during the proceedings that culminated with the CAS decision vacating Mr Bin Hammam's ban.

"Accordingly, the Investigatory Chamber has closed this matter consistent with the CAS Panel's guidance regarding newly discovered evidence."

The 63-year-old Qatari is still provisionally suspended from football over financial mismanagement allegations while AFC president, but his legal team are challenging that in the Swiss courts.