Posted on Apr 18
Mohamed bin Hammam, pictured in 2011, was absent here Wednesday as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) met to determine the powerful Asian regional football chief's future in football.

Mohamed bin Hammam was absent here Wednesday as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) met to determine the powerful Asian regional football chief's future in football.

Bin Hammam is appealing to CAS to overturn a lifetime corruption ban.

The 62-year-old is fighting allegations that he tried to buy FIFA delegates' votes while campaigning to unseat the world body's long-standing president, Sepp Blatter, in a leadership election last year.

Bin Hammam says the cash hand-outs were merely gifts, and he describes the charges and his punishment by FIFA as politically motivated.

The scandal earned him a life ban from football.

While the CAS hearing is expected to conclude on Thursday their verdict is not expected to be released until a later date.

"It's practically certain there won't be a decision on Thursday," CAS secretary general Mattieu Reeb told AFP.

Bin Hammam is being represented at the hearing by a team of lawyers headed by Eugene Gulland of the United States and Stephan Netzel of Switzerland.

Another Swiss lawyer, Antonio Rigozzi, is representing FIFA's case.

The hearing is being closely watched in Kuala Lumpur where the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has been under interim stewardship for nearly a year.

If bin Hammam wins his appeal, acting AFC president Zhang Jilong will step aside and the wealthy Qatari businessman will resume his leadership of the regional body, AFP understands.

If he loses, bin Hammam's football career is effectively over -- and the AFC would face leadership elections either at an emergency congress or at its next scheduled gathering in May 2013.