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Bin Hammam ban puts Qatari rulers in tough spot

  • AP, Monday, July 25, 2011 3:06 PM

Will Qatar's emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and his ruling family support disgraced Mohamed bin Hammam or will they cut their ties with the former president of the Asian Football Confederation, convicted of bribery in his bid for the FIFA presidency and banned for life from all soccer activities?

As a member of the FIFA executive committee, Bin Hammam was a key figure of the successful Qatari bid to host the 2022 World Cup, but the fight to clear his name may only attract more attention to concerns about how and why Qatar won the '22 bid.

"The fact that he was a key figure in the bid could rub off on Qatar's World Cup for sure,'' said James Dorsey, a senior research fellow of the National University of Singapore's Middle East Institute and author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer.

Dorsey added that the Qatari ruling family, accustomed to getting what it wants, will have a tough time with its critics.

Bin Hammam still has support within the Gulf region, though. The Abu Dhabi-based National newspaper called FIFA an "ethical Neverland'' and an "assembly of venal, conniving, self-perpetuating Old Boys who have their boots on the neck of the beautiful game.''

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