Asian foot­ball boss faces two chal­lengers for pres­i­dency

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

KUALA LUMPUR: Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Sheikh Sal­man bin Ebrahim Al Khal­ifa will face two chal­lengers when he seeks a fresh term at an elec­tion in April, the foot­ball body said yes­ter­day.

Qatar’s Saoud Al-Mo­han­nadi, an AFC vice pres­i­dent, and AFC ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber Mo­hamed Khal­fan Matar Saeed Al­ro­maithi of the United Arab Emi­rates are stand­ing against Sheikh Sal­man, the body said.

Saudi Ara­bia’s Adel Ez­zat-head of a new re­gional bloc, the South West Asian Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion-did not throw his hat into the ring, as had been widely ex­pected. AlMo­han­nadi, the Qatar Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion vice pres­i­dent, was hit with a one-year FIFA ban in 2016 for re­fus­ing to co­op­er­ate with a cor­rup­tion in­quiry, but the ban was over­turned af­ter he ap­pealed.

Any­one tak­ing on Sheikh Sal­man, who is seek­ing a new, four-year term, faces a tough task. The Bahraini royal has held the top job at the AFC since 2013, and said at a congress in Kuala Lumpur in Oc­to­ber that he had the sup­port of 90 per­cent of the body’s 46 full mem­bers.

He also warned against “third-party in­ter­fer­ence” in the vote. When he first took the reins, the Asian body was still reel­ing from a cor­rup­tion scan­dal which saw his pre­de­ces­sor, Mo­hamed bin Ham­mam, banned from foot­ball for life.

Qatar’s bin Ham­mam was ac­cused of bribery dur­ing his 2011 cam­paign to un­seat the now dis­graced Sepp Blat­ter as pres­i­dent of world body FIFA. Af­ter hav­ing a life ban an­nulled by the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport, bin Ham­mam was handed a sec­ond life­time ban by FIFA in 2012 for con­flict of in­ter­est vi­o­la­tions.

Sheikh Sal­man was elected in 2013 and com­pleted the last two years of bin Ham­mam’s term, be­fore be­ing re­elected un­op­posed to a full, four-year term in 2015. The vote for pres­i­dent and other AFC po­si­tions will take place on April 6 in Kuala Lumpur. — AFP

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