Fifa: And then there was one (update)

Update 29 May 18:55  ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – (Ed. note: AFP is reporting Sunday evening, but it is not yet confirmed elsewhere, that Blatter has been cleared, bin Hammam has been suspended while the investigation continues, and the 1 June election is to go ahead)

The contentious vote for the new president of Fifa, the international football governing body, became a lot simpler Sunday 29 May, with current president Sepp Blatter remaining the only one running. Mohamed bin Hammam, who opposed him, declared on his web site in the early hours of Sunday that he is pulling out of the race.

The two appeared for hearings as part of an investigation by Fifa’s ethics committee, which is meeting Sunday 29 May.

“I cannot allow the name that I loved 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,” he notes on his site.

“I will not put my personal ambition ahead of FIFA’s dignity and integrity. Besides, I believe my candidacy has been a catalyst for debate within FIFA and has brought change to the top of the agenda. 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.”