AMMAN: The already-thin prospect of the Arab federations agreeing on one candidate for the presidency of the Asian confederation receded still further when Sheikh Salman of Bahrain stayed away from a ‘consensus conference’ in Amman.

Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa is one of the four nominees for the AFC presidency along with Yousuf Al Serkal (United Arab Emirates) and Hafez Al Medlej (Saudi Arabia).

Both Al Serkal and Al Medlej attended. Sheikh Salman was not present though the Bahrain federation was represented by vice-president Ahmad Al-Nuaimi.

After the surprise withdrawal from the race of acting president Zhang Jilong (China) the only candidate from the east and south-eastern swathe of the Asian football empire is Thai football supremo Worawi Makudi.

Single candidate

He has already been promised the 12 votes of the ASEAN nations plus Australia and will feel further encouraged by the absence of a single-candidate deal to emerge from Wednesday’s meeting of the West Asian Football Federation.

The ‘election summit’ had been called by WAFF president Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan who is also the Asian vice-president of world federation FIFA.

A statement issued afterwards noted that election candidates “presented the details of their election manifestos for the development of Asian Football, which were discussed thoroughly.”

Also present was Hassan Al Thawadi who heads up the Qatar 2022 World Cup effort and is standing for a vacant Asian post on the FIFA executive committee. Sheikh Salman has also been nominated.

The WAFF has asked for official recognition for WAFF by the AFC a regional federation in its statutes. The four federations representing the regional zones in Asia are currently not recognized by AFC statutes.

This is significant because the meeting set out a range of proposals to AFC about administrative and financial transparency which the confederation could ignore as being ‘unofficial.’

On other issues, the meeting expressed “growing concern” over the ongoing problems faced by Palestinian football concerning the freedom of movement of players and access to equipment.

A unanimous vote supported intervention by both the AFC and FIFA “to ensure that Israel abides by the regulations of the Olympic Charter and allow Palestinian football to develop unhindered.”

Full WAFF statement

Office of HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein FIFA Vice President representingAsia, President of the West Asian Football Federation

West Asian Meeting Supports Candidates, Endorses WAFF-Suggested Program for Asian Football Development

Amman, March 6, 2013- FIFA Vice President representing Asia and President of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein chaired today a coordination meeting between Presidents of West Asia’s member associations and candidates for the presidency of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Asian seat on the FIFA Executive Committee in the Jordanian capital.

The meeting was attended by President of Kuwait Football Association Sheikh Talal Al Fahed, President of Qatar Football Association Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifah Al Thani, President of Yemen Football Association Sheikh Ahmed Al Issa, President of UAE Football Association Mr. Yousef Al Serkal, President of Saudi Arabia Football Federation Mr. Ahmad Eid, President of Palestine Football Association Mr. Jebril Al Rajoub, President of Oman Football Association Sayyed Khaled Al Busaidi, President of Iraq Football Association Mr. Najeh Hmoud, President of Lebanon Football Association Mr. Hachim Haydar, Vice President of Bahrain Football Association Mr. Ahmad Al-Nuaimi, AFC Presidency candidate Dr. Hafez Al Medlej and FIFA Executive Committee candidate Mr. Hassan Al Thawadi.

The attending candidates presented the details of their election manifestos for the development of Asian Football, which were discussed thoroughly by representatives of WAFF member associations.

In addition, the attendees expressed their growing concern vis a vis the challenges faced by Palestinian football concerning the freedom of movement of the players as well as restrictions on the entry of football equipment and on building sports infrastructure.

The member unanimously emphasized the necessity of an intervention by the AFC as well as FIFA to ensure thatIsraelabides by the regulations of the Olympic Charter and allow Palestinian football to develop unhinged.

The meeting concluded with a unanimous statement extendingWest Asia’s support to all contesting candidates from the region with full agreement to continue discussions next month with the objective of seeking consensus.

Attendees also agreed to give the opportunity to all candidates to further consultations amongst each other.

The meeting supported the suggestions below presented by WAFF President on whatWest Asiaseeks from the candidates for the development of Asian football moving forward.

1. Seeking official recognition for WAFF by the Asian Football Confederation as a regional federation in its statutes. The four federations representing the regional zones inAsiaare currently not recognized by AFC statutes.

Since 2000, West Asian Football Federation has played a crucial role in technical development of West Asian countries; a role that has been recognized by all stakeholders involved in the game.

Therefore, the Asian Football Confederation must officially recognize WAFF as an Regional Federation of the AFC in the AFC Statutes to continue and advance the partnership path forward.

2. WAFF Competition Recognition

Formal recognition of all WAFF Competitions as part of the AFC Calendar

Recognizing of WAFF Competitions for both genders as official qualifications to Asian Championships, provided it does not affect the fair distribution of seats of national associations in aforementioned competitions

Recognizing WAFF Futsal Competition as the official qualification to Asian Championship starting from 2014;

Recognizing WAFF Men Championship as official AFC competition, thus introducing its matches for FIFA ranking purposes.

Agreeing with AFC on a adequate financial platform, through direct financial subsidy or sponsorship opportunities in order to assist in organizing the above said competitions.

3. Possible Collaborative Frameworks with Regional Federations

Ensuring that Regional Federations benefit from the knowledge sharing platforms provided by AFC such as (educational courses, technical development initiatives, and organizational support tools (e.g. AFCAS) that develop Regional Federations capabilities

Ensuring that Regional Federations are an integral part of settling the AFC calendar of competitions, to ensure that the cultural and social aspects and specifics of each region is taken into consideration when scheduling competitions

Activating referees exchange program at local competitions of national associations in terms of supporting the appearance of the local referee in the external competitions under auspicious of Regional Federations.

Ensuring that Regional Federations are involved in AFC’s efforts to eradicate match fixing that is plaguing football worldwide and inAsiaspecifically;

4. AFC Current Standing

Closely examining AFC’s current financial standing and ensuring that optimal financial benefits to AFC member Associations’ are achieved.

Evaluating the system of rewards and incentives of AFC Cup and AFC Champions League for participating teams.

5. Ensuring Asian Football Development is inclusive

§  Agreeing on a detailed road map for the inclusion of more Member Associations to participate in the AFC Champions League by setting convenient conditions with the abilities of the continent.

§  Adoption of detailed road map towards a fairer financial support mechanism towards the development of the Asian football at national teams level.

6. Corporate Governance

§  Establishment of a Congress-elected Ethics Committee at AFC with the proper vetting process for nominees.

§  Setting minimum qualification requirements for AFC Standing committees’ members, in particular members serving on legal committee.

§  Agreeing that the Chairman and all committee members of AFC judicial bodies are elected by Congress.

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