Fifa gather in Bahrain un­der a fresh cloud

New Straits Times - - Sport -

al-Sabah, who is fac­ing cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions in the US.

Kuwaiti Sheikh Ah­mad has been named as a co-con­spir­a­tor of dis­graced Guam foot­ball chief Richard Lai, who re­cently pleaded guilty to re­ceiv­ing nearly US$1 mil­lion (RM4.5 mil­lion) in bribes from foot­ball of­fi­cials want­ing his help to in­flu­ence Fifa.

Is­sues on Fifa’s agenda this week could also prove con­tentious. Item 16 is a pro­posal to look at how Fifa al­lo­cates its most pres­ti­gious tour­na­ment, the World Cup.

Un­der cur­rent rules, the event can­not be staged in the same re­gion more than once every 12 years.

How­ever, any change to this pol­icy could al­low foot­ball’s emerg­ing power, China, to make a bid for the 2030 tour­na­ment, just eight years af­ter its AFC col­league, Qatar, con­tro­ver­sially hosts the 2022 World Cup.

Any such move is likely to be chal­lenged by Ar­gentina and Uruguay which wants to jointly host the tour­na­ment in 17 years’ time to mark the cen­te­nary of the very first World Cup, played in Mon­te­v­ideo.

An­other con­tentious is­sue is that of Is­rael and Pales­tine.

The Pales­tine Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion ar­gues that the pres­ence of six Is­raeli clubs on its ter­ri­tory is in breach of Fifa statutes, which for­bids an­other mem­ber as­so­ci­a­tion play­ing on an­other ter­ri­tory with­out per­mis­sion.

Is­rael ar­gues that Fifa rules are un­en­force­able as there is no per­ma­nent bor­der.

But even be­fore the Fifa Con­gress convenes, there could be con­tro­versy in Manama.

On May 8, in the same venue, the AFC will hold its resched­uled con­gress to fi­nally elect its Fifa Coun­cil mem­bers.

This vote has been de­layed since last Septem­ber when the AFC took just 27 min­utes to aban­don their ex­tra­or­di­nary con­gress in Goa.

The meet­ing was abruptly can­celled af­ter Saoud Al-Mo­han­nadi, Qatar Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s vi­cepres­i­dent, was stopped at the very last minute from stand­ing for elec­tion for the Fifa coun­cil.

He was then banned from foot­ball for a year af­ter be­ing ac­cused of not co-op­er­at­ing with a Fifa cor­rup­tion en­quiry.

How­ever, last month, in a rare re­ver­sal, Mo­han­nadi won his ap­peal against the ban handed down by a Fifa ethics com­mit­tee.

This ex­on­er­a­tion though was too late for him to ap­ply to stand for the coun­cil again.

Mo­han­nadi though has told AFP he will be in Bahrain and has been “ex­am­in­ing” ways to run again for elec­tion.

An­other item for the AFC to de­cide is whether or not to agree to Iraq’s re­quest to end the in­ter­na­tional ban on host­ing foot­ball matches. AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.