Four nominated to be Asian football president
KUALA LUMPUR (AP) – Thailand’s Worawi Makudi will run against West Asian nominees Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, Yousef Al Serkal of the United Arab Emirates and Hafez Al Medlej of Saudi Arabia for the vacant position as president of the Asian Football Confederation.
The AFC confirmed the four nominees Monday. China’s Zhang Jilong, who has been acting president since Qatar’s Mohamed bin Hammam was suspended by football’s world governing body in May 2011, told China’s official news agency over the weekend that he would not put himself forward to be president. The election will be held May 2 in Kuala Lumpur.
“The nominations will now be scrutinised and the list of candidates will be sent to the member associations one month prior to the Congress in accordance with the AFC Statutes,” the AFC said in a statement issued more than 18 hours after the deadline for nominations.
Salman has also been nominated for a position on FIFA’s executive committee along with Hassan Al Thawadi, the secretary-general of the Qatar 2022 World Cup organising committee.
Bin Hammam, who became AFC president in 2002, was found guilty of attempting to buy votes during his failed challenge against FIFA President Sepp Blatter in 2011 and the FIFA ethics committee suspended him from all football activity for life.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned that decision but bin Hammam remained under provisional suspensions by both FIFA and AFC as investigations continued into allegations of financial irregularities during his tenure.
The Qatari official’s life ban was imposed again by FIFA after he resigned from all football positions on Dec 17. He has denied wrongdoing.
Salman, a member of the Bahrain ruling royal family and head of the national football association, came within two votes of defeating bin Hammam for a seat on the FIFA executive committee in 2009 after a bitter battle that widened divisions in Asia.