The ongoing case of corruption claims against former FIFA Vice-President and Asian Football Confederation President Mohammed bin Hammam, has led to a Singapore Court ordering former journalist and blogger James M. Dorsey to reveal his sources.
In his blog The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer he says:
A Singapore court has ordered veteran journalist and scholar JMD to reveal his sources for his reporting on an audit of suspended world soccer body FIFA vice president and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohammed Bin Hammam's management of AFC's finances and agreement with a Singapore-based company on the group's marketing rights.The court accepted a demand by World Sports Group (WSG) to instruct the journalist and scholar to reveal his sources on the grounds that the audit was confidential and that the sources had defamed the company.
Part of the controversial audit says this:
The internal AFC audit conducted by PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) charged that Mr. Bin Hammam had used an AFC sundry account as his personal account, questioned the terms and negotiation procedure of a $1 billion marketing rights agreement between WSG and the AFC and raised questions of $14 million in payments by a WSG shareholder to Mr. Bin Hammam prior to the signing of the agreement.
[...] Lawyers for FIFA earlier this year sought unsuccessfully to introduce the report in Mr. Bin Hammam's appeal proceedings in the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration of Sport against the world soccer body's banning for life of the Qatari national from involvement on soccer on charges of bribery.
[...] Both FIFA and the AFC have suspended M. Bin Hammam on the basis of the report pending further investigation of the allegations in the PwC report and separate charges that he last year sought to bribe Caribbean soccer officials. Mr. Bin Hammam has denied all allegations and charges.
You can find an earlier post on said audit here: ‘Bin Hammam's Audit opens Pandora's Box‘.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has released its full decision in the dispute between Mohammed bin Hammam and FIFA (available here in PDF). The dispute centers on FIFA's lifetime suspension of bin Hammam for allegedly bribing Caribbean football officials in May, 2011 in his effort to win the FIFA presidency.In a nutshell, $1,000,000 was distributed at a special meeting of Caribbean football officials — that is, representatives to FIFA with a vote in the FIFA presidential election. The money was distributed in cash in brown paper bags in $40,000 allotments to 25 individuals. The disbursement was done by Jack Warner, then head of the Caribbean Football Union (since caught up in his own series of scandals). Of note, the CAS judgment says that “Mr. Warner appears to be prone to an economy with the truth.” You can actually see a video of the disbursements being made here.
In response FIFA focused on bin Hammam's alleged guiltiness of the charges and decided to punt on the issues of due process. The decision explains that FIFA argued,… CAS panels should not in such circumstances consider arguments alleging the violation of due process. The Respondent sees no reason to address in any detail the Appellant’s complaints on those items.
Wow. It is telling that FIFA appeared to believe that addressing questions of due process would be unnecessary.The CAS found, in a 2-1 judgment, in favor of bin Hammam, noting that their judgment was not a statement about the likelihood of his innocence, but rather a statement about FIFA's failure to prove its case. In fact, the CAS suggested that bin Hammam was likely guilty of the charges.
This judgment represents a victory for the rule of law, for due process and for the notion that FIFA must conform to such norms rather than operate in an ad hoc manner. Of further note is that bin Hammam's victory in this dispute, which certainly does nothing to change his status in world football (as he is being investigated under other allegations of violations), reinforces the need for a jurisprudence of sport consistent with the widely accepted norms of jurisprudence which comprise democratic governance.That, in the end, is a victory for sports governance.