Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Mohammed Bin Hammam survived a challenge from Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman Al-Khalifa to retain his seat on the Executive Council of the International Football Federation, FIFA. A close vote in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, gave Khalifa 21 votes and Bin Hammam 23 votes; there were two abstentions. The vote left the 60 year-old Qatari national, who celebrated his birthday on Friday, the happiest man in Asia.
In an interview with the Abu Dhabi Sports Channel, defeated contestant Sheikh Salman congratulated Bin Hammam, but added there are organisational deficiencies in the Asian Confederation he would have addressed effectively. In commenting on the election, Chairman of the Kuwaiti Federation’s Transitional Committee and President of the Asian Olympic Committee Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahd added that the most important thing was that, “Kuwait secured the right to vote [in the FIFA election] … Kuwait has a crucial role to play in Asia and cannot be sidelined.” Meanwhile, the chairman of the Qatari Football Association Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani said, “Even though the vote was close, we are happy with Abu Jassem’s win.”
Chairman Mohammed Khalfan of the UAE Football Federation was open about his association’s support for Bin Hammam. He congratulated the Qatari national, saying, “We supported our brother, Mohammed, and I believe that the future of football in Asia will be the greater for his presence on the FIFA Executive Council.”
Fellow Emirati national, Youssef Al-Sirkal, who heads the panel of judges in the Asian Confederation, thanked all those who had participated in the selection process and in particular Sheikh Salman’s camp, which was gracious in defeat. He added, “I am happy that Bin Hammam won, because I am his top supporter.”
The Asian continent wields four seats on the FIFA Executive Council, two for East Asia, the third for Southeast Asia (ASEAN) and the fourth for West Asia.
Source: Abu Dhabi Sports Channel