Asian body to merge FIFA seat with presidency
SAO PAULO (AP) — The Asian Football Confederation has changed election rules to ensure its president will in future also take the continent’s FIFA vice presidency.
The vote Monday was a political victory for AFC President Sheik Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa of Bahrain over Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein, who holds the FIFA seat.
Both four-year mandates are due for re-election next year, potentially in January ahead of the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia.
“There was an understanding of the logical side” of the proposal, Sheik Salman told The Associated Press.
Asia’s vote makes five of FIFA’s six continental confederations who give their elected leader FIFA vice president status. South America’s CONMEBOL is the exception.
Prince Ali did not formally challenge the poll of 47 member countries.
“The feeling between all of the members has been an open dialogue. We are an open book,” Sheik Salman said.
He was elected AFC president in May 2013 to complete the mandate of Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar, who FIFA had expelled for financial wrongdoing.
The sheik’s current FIFA executive committee place — won in a separate May 2013 poll against Hassan Al Thawadi, head of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organizing committee — is junior to the prince.
The Asian governing body elects four seats on FIFA’s executive committee, and also has Moya Dodd of Australia as a co-opted member representing women’s football.
Three of the mandates expire in 2015: Prince Ali, Worawi Makudi of Thailand and Zhang Jilong of China. Zhang was appointed to complete the term of Vernon Manilal Fernando of Sri Lanka, who is appealing his FIFA life ban for alleged financial wrongdoing.
Sheik Salman said the AFC board could decide on the election dates at a November meeting in Manila, Philippines.