Tag Archives: hammam

John Fashanu: MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon should get along

Fashanu: I understand the emotions, but let's have some peace and love in the FA Cup

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UPDATED:

20:50 GMT, 1 December 2012

Wimbledon legend John Fashanu has
called for 'peace and love' to break out between bitter rivals MK Dons
and AFC Wimbledon at their FA Cup second-round tie.

Fashanu, a key member of Wimbledon's
FA Cup-winning side in 1988, has defended the existence of MK Dons, a
team dubbed Franchise FC by many Wimbledon fans who accuse them of
'stealing' their old club when, in an unprecedented move in English
football, they were relocated to Milton Keynes and renamed nine years
ago.

Existing fans formed AFC Wimbledon as
a non-League club in 2002 and, while some will boycott the tie
altogether, others will attend the game in contamination suits to
underline their continuing contempt for Milton Keynes, who incorporated
the original 'Dons' nickname into their official name.

Different times: Wimbledon players celebrate their incredible 1988 FA Cup win

Different times: Wimbledon players celebrate their incredible 1988 FA Cup win

AFC's directors will keep away from the MK boardroom, while MK manager Karl Robinson said his scouts have been asked not to attend AFC home games in the build-up to the match.

Yet against this highly charged backdrop, Fashanu has admitted he embraces both clubs and defended his long-time chairman Sam Hammam, who sold Wimbledon to Pete Winkelman, who then moved them 60 miles north.

'I have to tread very carefully because I love the Dons and I love AFC Wimbledon,' said Fashanu. 'If AFC can beat MK it will be hard to know whether to laugh or cry. It's going to be so emotional for anyone and everyone connected to the Crazy Gang.

Legend: John Fashanu in action for Wimbledon

Legend: John Fashanu in action for Wimbledon

'All I hope is that we get to see a brilliant game and that afterwards, no matter who has won or lost, that there might be some peace and love between both clubs.

'MK Dons have a right to be where they are. Hard as it might be for some to stomach, Sam Hammam did what was necessary. He couldn't go any further in Wimbledon, he had hit a brick wall. This was the man who spent millions of his own money to keep Wimbledon going. He bankrolled the club and paid everyone huge salaries given the crowds we used to get.

'Wimbledon were a family club with unity and love for each other. That never changed for me even when they became the MK Dons. I'd never tell the fans what they should do or whether they should boycott the game. Only the individual can make that call. It's understandable people feel this way but it's also a huge shame.'

Fashanu, 50, will watch the contest on television in Nigeria, where he now works in business.

'It is a juggernaut of a tie. They have so much in common and, despite all the problems, will forever be linked in history,' said Fashanu, who will open a 50million football academy in London next weekend. 'It's going to be explosive.'

AFC Wimbledon are currently managed by former player Neal Ardley and now play their football only one division behind League One MK Dons after five promotions in nine seasons.

Much maligned: Former Wimbledon chairman Sam Hammam

Much maligned: Former Wimbledon chairman Sam Hammam

Former Wimbledon director and lifelong fan Peter Miller, who grew up in a flat overlooking the club's original ground at Plough Lane, says those AFC supporters who attend will boycott any supplementary spending on food, drinks, merchandising or programmes.

'I will be there but many who have travelled the length and breadth of the country are boycotting the game,' said Miller. 'A few won't even watch it on television and even the directors are split.

'Such is the resentment against everything the MK Dons represents that our supporters have been asked not to put money into their coffers by buying programmes or using any of their food stalls.'

What's in a name: The MK Dons' stadium

What's in a name: The MK Dons' stadium

Pete Winkelman, the MK Dons chairman, has admitted that he is 'not proud' of the way football came to Milton Keynes, having done the original deal, built the new stadium and developed the surrounding land.

But he insisted the club would not relinquish their 'Dons' name.

'I do understand that on this special occasion, this historic occasion, this first meeting, that AFC Wimbledon officials would rather sit with their own supporters,' he said. 'If there is a replay, I will do the same.

'But I was disappointed to hear about the boycott, I hope that doesn't happen. Boycotting your team or leaving your team alone is perhaps the worst way of voicing your disapproval of what went on.

On the up: AFC Wimbledon celebrate promotion from the Blue Square Premier League

On the up: AFC Wimbledon celebrate promotion from the Blue Square Premier League

'I've been very clear about this. I'm a custodian of the club and the only way our name could ever change is if our supporters demanded it. I take responsibility for the club getting here, but now it's here it's actually the responsibility of all of us. And I think it's incredibly clear, and clear in every conversation I have, that we are the MK Dons, we're going to stay the MK Dons, and in the future we're going to be the MK Dons.'

Although there is a tradition for sports clubs to change location for business reasons in America, the story of the Dons remains unique in English football.

Former player Wally Downes, now assistant manager at West Ham, said: 'I am not looking forward to the game. It's AFC Wimbledon against Franchise FC. MK Dons are in a position they didn't earn, they didn't even inherit it, they just bought it. Of the two teams, one is a proper football club and one is a fraud club. I can see why AFC fans would boycott the game.'

Mohamed Bin Hammam has lifetime ban from FIFA annulled

Embarrassment for FIFA as Bin Hammam has lifetime ban overturned by CAS

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UPDATED:

09:52 GMT, 19 July 2012

Mohamed Bin Hammam has had his lifetime FIFA ban annulled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Fantasy football 2012

The ruling by CAS will cause huge embarrassment to FIFA, whose ethics committee imposed the lifetime ban for bribery one year ago.

It is understood that while the Qatari has not been proven innocent by CAS the appeal has been upheld on the grounds of a lack of evidence.

FIFA can bring fresh proceedings against Bin Hammam if the revamped ethics committee has any new evidence.

Overturned: Mohamed bin Hammam has his ban annulled

Overturned: Mohamed bin Hammam has his ban annulled

Bin Hammam was found guilty by FIFA's ethics committee last year of paying bribes to Caribbean officials while campaigning against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency.

Bin Hammam had been president of the Asian Football Confederation and he was provisionally suspended by that governing body earlier this week.

That followed an audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers that centred on contract negotiations and payments to and from AFC bank accounts during Bin Hammam's presidency.

He was alleged to have breached a number of AFC regulations including relating to gifts and bribery. Sources close to Bin Hammam say the allegations are further attempts to tarnish his name.

Bin Hammam always claimed the FIFA action against him was retribution for having challenged Blatter for the presidency.

Election: Bin Hammam stood against Sepp Blatter

Election: Bin Hammam stood against Sepp Blatter

It is almost a year to the day since FIFA's ethics committee found 63-year-old Bin Hammam guilty of conspiring to pay bribes and issued the lifetime ban.

Bin Hammam had been a growing force in international football and displayed his power by being influential in Qatar's runaway victory in the contest to host the 2022 World Cup.

Some observers had believed he was on course to defeat Blatter until, less than a month before the election, he was accused of paying around 1million US dollars to officials from 25 Caribbean nations.

Witnesses testified that after being addressed by Bin Hammam at a specially-arranged meeting in Trinidad, officials were invited to pick up cash gifts of 40,000 US dollars per association contained in brown envelopes.

The witnesses stated that former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner had told officials the money had come from Bin Hammam. Warner resigned from FIFA a month later and refused to speak to investigators.

Mohamed Bin Hammam to make final bid to escape FIFA ban

Last chance saloon for Bin Hammam as he attempts to escape FIFA lifetime ban

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UPDATED:

17:11 GMT, 17 April 2012

Mohamed Bin Hammam will make his final bid to overturn his lifetime FIFA ban for bribery on Wednesday.

The Qatari is taking an appeal against the ban, which was imposed by FIFA's ethics committee in July, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.

Bin Hammam was banned for life after being found guilty of paying cash gifts totalling nearly 1million US dollars (630,000) to football officials from Caribbean countries during his FIFA presidential campaign last May.

Trouble: Mohamed Bin Hammam (right) accompanied by FIFA Vice President Austin Jack Warner

Trouble: Mohamed Bin Hammam (right) accompanied by FIFA Vice President Austin Jack Warner

The 62-year-old, who had also been president of the Asian Football Confederation, failed to overturn the ban at FIFA's appeals committee in September and the CAS panel remains his last chance.

Bin Hammam is not expected to attend the hearing in person but to leave the legal arguments to his lawyers. FIFA will also have their legal team arguing that the bribery charges had been proved and that the lifetime ban was just.

The charges were brought after a special meeting of the Caribbean Football Union in Trinidad on May 11 last year arranged to hear Bin Hammam while on the campaign trail.

Unopposed: Sepp Blatter was re-elected

Unopposed: Sepp Blatter was re-elected

According to a FIFA ethics committee
report, witnesses said after Bin Hammam's speech, then FIFA
vice-president Jack Warner instructed delegates to go to a room to pick
up gifts – these turned out to be brown envelopes each containing 40,000
US dollars in cash.

According to the witnesses, Warner told delegates that Bin Hammam 'was the actual source of the money', the report states. Warner resigned from all football activities in June after being charged with bribery.

Bin Hammam pulled out of FIFA presidential contest and Sepp Blatter was re-elected unopposed.

After his lifetime ban, Bin Hammam – who spearheaded Qatar's successful bid for the 2022 World Cup – insisted he would never stop fighting to clear his name.

he will not relent in his bid to clear his name

Never back down: Bin Hammam said he will not relent in his bid to clear his name

He said in August: 'I was found guilty beyond any doubt by a kangaroo court and banned for life.

'I will not rest no matter what tactical delays, forgery or bias are put against me. I will continue my battle until I prove my innocence and that my suspension was a political decision and an absolute abuse of power to deprive me of my right to contest for FIFA presidency.'

The CAS hearing is expected to last for two days with the decision being announced within the next month.

Bin Hammam has also gone to CAS to try stop the Asian Football Confederation replacing him as president.

China's Zhang Jilong was appointed as acting AFC president last summer but the confederation must wait one year from the date of Bin Hammam's provisional ban – May 29 – before holding an election to replace him.

Football managers on boardroom capers

How managers are driven up the wall by football's Mad Men

The Four Year Plan, shown by the BBC on Sunday, was a fly-on-the-wall documentary lifting the lid on behaviour in the boardroom. It turned into football’s Mad Men, revealing behind-the-scenes workings at QPR under a previous regime, including when they hired five managers in one season.

So we asked some for their experiences of crazy boardroom capers…

Behind the scenes: The Four Year Plan shed light on life at QPR

Behind the scenes: The Four Year Plan shed light on life at QPR

DAVE BASSETT

I had been at Wimbledon six years and was perfectly happy. Until Sam Hammam said he wanted the right to pick the team in 1987.

Sam and I had always got on well and dragged Wimbledon up through the leagues together. But I was due to sign a new contract and he told me he wanted a clause in it saying that he had veto over my team selection.

There’s no way that I was having that so I left at the end of the season and moved to Watford. As a manager you just have to have ultimate authority over team affairs. If you lose that then you are finished.

The problem is that some owners get jealous. Sam used to ask me why the supporters sang: ‘There’s only one Dave Bassett’ when it was he who had stumped up the money to buy John Fashanu etc. I just told him that was the way it was. Managers get the grief and glory and owners and chairmen get to smoke the big cigars.

Interfering: Sam Hammam (centre) wanted to have a say in team selection

Interfering: Sam Hammam (centre) wanted to have a say in team selection

BARRY FRY

Interfering chairmen I could write a book on it — in fact, I already have! Every Friday afternoon (at Barnet) I used to go to Stan Flashman’s house for my wages, but he would only pay me if I told him the team and he agreed with it! If he disagreed, he wouldn’t pay me until after the game. If the team lost, he wouldn’t pay me at all! It sounds funny now, but it wasn’t. He must have sacked me 37 times.

Then there was Keith Cheeseman at Dunstable Town. One day he came to me, just before Christmas, and said: ‘Right Barry, I’m having a big party. I want you to invite all the lads, all the lads’ families and any close friends. I need the names and addresses so I can send out the invites.’

So, believing every word, I raced around getting all these addresses for this party. Anyway, weeks went by and we thought he had forgotten about it. Nothing of the sort. What he had done was taken out loans in every name and was tried for embezzlement after fraudulently receiving nearly 300,000. He was jailed for six years in 1977.

So, the lads at QPR might think they are eccentric. but believe me, they have nothing on some I’ve come across!

In control: Stan Flashman decided whether or not Barry Fry was paid

In control: Stan Flashman decided whether or not Barry Fry was paid

DAVID O'LEARY

I’ve generally enjoyed a good relationship with my chairmen but I have had strange requests. I once got a call asking me if I was aware a lot of broccoli was going to waste in the players’ canteen. And I was also asked to make sure the lights were out before I left the training ground each night.

On another occasion I was quizzed on a petrol receipt from Watford Gap services. What was I doing there I explained I’d been in London to watch Arsenal, ahead of the game we had against them the following weekend.

MICK WADSWORTH

You will excuse me for not naming this chairman but he was the sort of person who would walk into my office, start talking and say ‘to be honest with you Mick’ which you knew was the start of a lie.

One Christmas I’d had to pay the YTS lads out of my own money, the players’ wages were late because they were being paid out of the gate money and my car had been taken because the club couldn’t pay the service. I went into his office, had a right go at him and let my anger out.

He just sat there very calmly and said: ‘Never forget Mick, we know where you live.’

Threat: Mick Wadsworth had his fair share of run-ins with chairmen

Threat: Mick Wadsworth had his fair share of run-ins with chairmen

CHRIS KAMARA

In the week before Bradford were due to play Notts County at Wembley in the second division play-off final, the players held a meeting with the chairman over bonuses. As they went through their demands I watched the chairman change colour. /03/05/article-2110645-120ABBD2000005DC-646_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”Personal touch: Paulo Sousa was one of the managers sacked by QPR” class=”blkBorder” />

Personal touch: Paulo Sousa was one of the managers sacked by QPR

Revealed: Egos and tantrums

In 96 compelling minutes, Sunday night’s fly-on-the-wall documentary ripped away the veneer of a modern football club and presented a Machiavellian world of footballing backbiting.

The main protagonists — co-owner Flavio Briatore and chairman Gianni Paladini — reveal themselves as scheming egotists amid the exaggerated emotions and pressurised atmosphere at QPR.

Throughout, managers are ‘idiots’ who are abused and disposed of on a whim. An explosive Briatore tries to orchestrate the match from the stand, sending messages to the dugout, demanding changes. He argues with fans and delivers the delicious ultimatum: ‘Tell me who booed me or I will sell the club.’ Paladini is the ruthless hatchet-man, twisting words and situations to suit his needs.

Ruthless: QPR's owners went through five managers in one season

Ruthless: QPR's owners went through five managers in one season

Amid the craziness, there are shards of humour. Jim Magilton describes himself as better looking than Iain Dowie but not as handsome as Paulo Sousa as he is handed the manager’s job.

Neil Warnock then arrives at what is by then a seriously dysfunctional club and manages to turn QPR into a coherent force capable of promotion. The final scenes show them celebrating reaching the Premier League. Vice-chairman Amit Bhatia does reveal a genuine compassion for the football club as he steers QPR through the chaos.

This terrific piece of television could have passed for a high-quality drama series, but it was real people in a real football club. Remarkable.

Jack Warner: I was bribed by Sepp Blatter

Blatter under fire as Warner finally reveals bribery claims against FIFA president

Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner claims he was awarded World Cup television rights for as little as one dollar in return for helping Sepp Blatter win elections for the presidency of world football”s ruling body.

Warner, who resigned from FIFA in June amid bribery allegations, released a statement which accused the organisation of awarding him the 1998 World Cup rights in his native Trinidad & Tobago for the nominal fee after he helped Blatter win a “brutal” campaign to become FIFA president.

A former president of regional body CONCACAF and the Caribbean Football Union, Warner also said he was sold the rights for the 2002 and 2006 World Cups after helping Blatter get re-elected in 2002, and later bought the 2010 and 2014 rights.

Teaming up: Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner (right) has finally released his

Teaming up: Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner (right) has finally released his “tsunami” of allegations against his former employers

The accusations are the latest twist to a saga of corruption accusations and infighting which has dogged FIFA throughout 2011.

Asked about Warner”s claims, FIFA said: “We are currently looking into the matter.”

Once a Blatter ally, Warner switched his allegiance to Qatar”s Mohammed bin Hammam during FIFA”s presidential election earlier this year. After being suspended in May, Warner had threatened to unleash a “tsunami” of corruption allegations against the organisation.

On Thursday, Warner said that he and Bin Hammam, a former Asian Football Confederation president, had played “extremely critical roles in [Blatter”s] re-election [in 2002] as well as in preventing several members of the then Executive Committee from instituting criminal charges against him.”

Lurking in the background: Warner has attacked president Sepp Blatter

Lurking in the background: Warner has attacked president Sepp Blatter

Warner did not give details of the possible charges.

TV rights for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups were “again sold to me personally, however using the CFU as the vehicle,” Warner said, adding that they were subsequently resold.

He said the profits, as with previous rights earnings, were used to fund football activities in the Caribbean.

Warner”s decision to quit FIFA meant that he avoided an investigation of his alleged role in arranging payments for Caribbean voters during Bin Hammam”s presidential campaign – a bribery scandal which subsequently led to a life ban from football for the Qatari challenger.

Bin Hammam withdrew his bid after the scandal emerged in May.

In his statement, Warner claimed FIFA had vainly made him further lucrative offers if he would support Blatter, rather than bin Hammam, in the election.

“In 2011, in exchange for my support (and by extension the support of the CFU and the CONCACAF) in the FIFA presidential election, the FIFA again offered me the sale of the World Cup Rights for 2018 and 2022 as a “gift” at a nominal fee,” Warner said.

FIFA also agreed to give CONCACAF a combined total of $1million (650,000) for two football development projects, Warner claimed.

“Notwithstanding the inducements offered, I … refused to endorse Sepp Blatter for the 2011 FIFA Presidential election…”, the statement added.

According to Warner, a 28-year veteran of FIFA”s executive committee, there are more revelations to come.

Allegations: Warner

Allegations: Warner”s claims centre on the television rights for the 2002 World Cup

He said that he would make further disclosures next week, including, “why I could not support Sepp Blatter”s re-election”, and “why Caribbean football will never be for sale”.

The bribery scandal involving Warner and bin Hammam was sparked when whistleblowers from four Caribbean countries reported that cash was offered during Bin Hammam”s visit to Trinidad in May ahead of the FIFA vote for the presidency.

A video of Warner urging Caribbean football leaders to accept their cash gifts was leaked and published on the website of the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Bin Hammam is appealing against his FIFA ban and is awaiting a date for a hearing from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.