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Mohamed Bin Hammam steps down from Fifa presidential race

Mohamed bin Hammam has withdrawn from Fifa’s presidential elections, and has said that he is determined to clear his name at the forthcoming ethics committee hearing.

Fifa has been rocked over the last week or so with allegations of serious corruption, at the centre of which are Bin Hammam and Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, who have been accused of bribing Caribbean Football Union officials with $40,000. Even Sepp Blatter is being investigated, and the internecine war that has broken out between the two candidates looked like it might tear the organisation in two. However Blatter is now unopposed in the elections, and will now almost certainly secure a fourth term as the head of the organisation.

‘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,’ said Bin Hammam. ‘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 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.

‘I look forward to working closely with my colleagues to restore Fifa's reputation to what it should be – a protector of the game that has credibility through honesty, transparency and accountability. It saddens me that standing up for the causes 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 game that I love 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. It is for this reason that I announce my withdrawal from the presidential election.’

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