The man challenging Sepp Blatter for the Fifa presidency ratcheted up pressure on world football’s governing body by calling for his opponent to be included in a corruption probe.
Mohamed bin Hammam, named by Fifa in a bribery investigation, issued a statement on Thursday rejecting the allegations. Mr bin Hammam went further, saying he had requested “that the investigation by the ethics committee be extended to include Mr Blatter”.
Mr bin Hammam, the president of the Asian Football Confederation and a member of Fifa’s executive committee, Exco, is at the centre of bribery claims relating to a meeting in Trinidad with members of the Caribbean Football Union this month.
Mr bin Hammam’s statement said: “The accusations also contain statements according to which Mr Blatter, the incumbent Fifa president, was informed of, but did not oppose, payments allegedly made to members of the Caribbean Football Union.”
The statement went on: “The timing of the accusations so close to the election of Fifa president on June 1 2011 suggests that they are part of a plan to damage Mr bin Hammam.”
Mr Blatter said the suggestion he played any part in bringing charges against his opponent was “ludicrous and completely reprehensible”.
Fifa had no immediate comment.