Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa today reaffirmed his confederation’s support for incumbent FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
The reassurance came despite AFC Executive Committee member Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein’s recent declaration of intent to challenge in recent days.
Speaking to press following today’s AFC Extraordinary Congress in Melbourne ahead of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup’s opening match between hosts Australia and Kuwait, Sheikh Salman would not be moved on the AFC’s support of the beleaguered FIFA President.
“Everybody is aware that during the General Assembly in 2013 and 2014 the AFC congress has decided to support Sepp Blatter for a fifth term,” the Bahraini said.
“Now we are committed, all the member associations are committed to that, and from what I heard from them today and the last few days they will continue to commit to their promise and word, and this is where we stand.”
When asked if it was incumbent upon the AFC to support an AFC candidate, Sheikh Salman took a thinly veiled dig at Prince Ali for his lack of consultation with the AFC ExCo.
“As I said, we are committed and nobody has consulted us before regarding this nominee. If there is a nominee from the Asian confederation, it has to be supported by the Asian confederation, with the consultation of all the executive committee, the member associations, and not by an individual who decides to run.
“Whether it’s Prince Ali or anybody else, the decision has been made during the attendance of all 46 members.”
Prince Ali didn’t speak to the media today and was quickly ushered out of sight at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Congress, which was held to ratify the creation of a new Central Asian zone.
It sets the scene for a showdown between Prince Ali and Sheikh Salman, who last year battled over the latter’s plan to have the AFC President automatically take the FIFA Vice President’s position. It was a battle Salman ultimately won, which will cost Prince Ali his spot on the FIFA ExCo when his term ends this year.