Incumbent AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain was re-elected unopposed for a new four-year term as AFC President at the 26th AFC Congress held in Manama, Bahrain on Thursday.
After a recent change of statutes, Shaikh Salman, as AFC President, will also automatically assume the FIFA Vice-President position, ousting FIFA Presidential nominee Prince Ali of Jordan.
“I am humbled and honoured to stand unopposed for the position of AFC President and FIFA Vice-President,” Shaikh Salman said in a statement issued after the vote. “I take this as a sign of your satisfaction with the work that I have done so far and your trust in me to lead this unique Confederation.”
Most interest leading into the Congress centred on the vote for the three FIFA Executive Committee positions, with seven individuals nominating.
As expected, the AFC Congress approved a last minute change of statutes which saw one of the three positions (that for the two-year term of 2015-2017) voted on separately to the other two positions (for 2015-2019).
This allowed king-maker Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al Ahmad Al Sabah of Kuwait to secure the two-year term, while Malaysia’s HRH Prince Abdullah Al-Haj Ibni Sultan Hj Ahmad Shah and Japan’s Kohzo Toshima were elected for the remaining two four-year terms.
The result is a huge success for under-fire FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who was in attendance in Manama. Shaikh Salman and Sheikh Ahmed, a hugely dominant and powerful force in Asian sport courtesy of his role with the Asian Olympic Council, are both Blatter allies and will now sit alongside the 79-year-old, who is expected to be re-elected FIFA President next month.
While Blatter, in his role as FIFA President, addressed the Congress, none of the other FIFA Presidential candidates were given the opportunity, not even the AFC’s own Prince Ali, a clear sign of where loyalties lie within the AFC.
Along with the election for the FIFA Executive Committee, the AFC Congress also voted on the five AFC Vice President positions together with the five Female Executive Committee positions and the remaining 11 AFC Executive Committee positions. The results were as follows:
AFC Vice Presidents (5 positions; one from each zone):
Winston Lee Boon Aun (Singapore; Zone: ASEAN)
Zhang Jilong (China; Zone: East)
Ali KafashianNaeini (Iran; Zone: Central)
Saoud A. Aziz M A Al Mohannadi (Qatar; Zone: West)
Praful Manoharbhai Patel (India; Zone: South)
AFC Female Executive Committee Members (5 positions; one from each zone):
Moya Dodd (Australia; Zone: ASEAN)
Han Un Gyong (DPR Korea; Zone: East)
Zohra Mehri (Afghanistan; Zone: Central)
Susan R. A. Shalabi (Palestine; Zone: West)
Mahfuza Akhter (Bangladesh; Zone: South)
AFC Executive Committee members (11 positions):
Mariano V. Araneta Jr. (Philippines; Zone: ASEAN)
Viphet Sihachakr (Laos: Zone: ASEAN)
Francisco Kalbuadi Lay (Timor Leste; Zone: ASEAN)
Richard King Lai (Guam; Zone: East)
Mong Gyu Chung (Korea Republic; Zone: East)
Sardor Rakhmatullaev (Uzbekistan; Zone: Central)
HE Mohamed Khalfan Matar Saeed Al Romaithi (UAE; Zone: West)
Ahmed Eid S. Al Harbi (Saudi Arabia; Zone: West)
Hachem Sayed Ali Haidar (Lebanon; Zone: West)
Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat (Pakistan; Zone: South)
Mohamed Shaweed (Maldives; Zone: South)