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Posted on April 30, 2017
FIFA official Sheikh Ahmad resigning amid bribery claims after Thursday court proceedings in Brooklyn on Lai guilty plea
GENEVA (CCN) — The Associated Press reported Sunday that Pressure from allegations in an U.S. court has led to a FIFA Council member from Kuwait resigning his position on the world's soccer rules organization. The resignation followed stunning allegations that surfaced Thursday in a federal courtroom in Brooklyn at the guilty plea proceedings of another key player in the bribery scandal case involving world soccer officials.
FIFA Council member Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah of Kuwait is facing allegations that he bribed Asian officials. He issued a statement on Sunday that he will withdraw from a re-election bid on May 8 in Bahrain for the FIFA seat representing Asia.
"I do not want these allegations to create divisions or distract attention from the upcoming AFC (Asian Football Confederation) and FIFA Congresses," said the Kuwaiti royal, who has denied any wrongdoing. He added: "Therefore, after careful consideration, I have decided it is in the best interests of FIFA and the AFC, for me to withdraw my candidacy for the FIFA Council and resign from my current football positions."
The long-time Olympic Council of Asia president contacted the ethics panels of both FIFA and the International Olympic Council after the allegations were made Thursday in a Brooklyn federal courthouse.
FIFA audit committee member Richard Lai pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy charges related to taking around $1 million in bribes, including from Kuwaiti officials. Lai, an American citizen from Guam, told the court that the cash was to "buy influence" and to help recruit other Asian soccer officials prepared to take bribes. Bin Hammam was also identified in Lai's court hearing on Thursday for paying $100,000 in bribes to support a failed challenge in 2011 to FIFA's then-president Sepp Blatter. Bin Hammam was already removed from the FIFA Council after a Caribbean bribery case.
Support by Sheikh Ahmad was often cited as key to winning bids as host cities for major soccer events under control of the FIFA Council. The federal investigation of corruption linked to FIFA by US officials since 2015 has led to indictments and guilty pleas from more than 40 people
The Daily Gazette
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April 30, 2017
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