KUALA LUMPUR: Unity was again the theme of new AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa when he followed up his election on Thursday by a rallying call to today’s 25th Ordinary Congress.
In a wide-ranging speech, the former Bahrain Football Association President spoke about building on the successes of Asian football and fulfilling his election campaign promises of creating a united confederation.
He said: “I am proud to stand here today in front of the Asian football family as the 10th AFC president to discuss and chart together with you the future of Asian football.
“I will start working in earnest on delivering my manifesto because reuniting the Asian football community is the need of the hour.”
Expanding on his vision at a post-election press conference, Salman said: “It’s our duty together not only to look at what our challenges are and how to solve them but more importantly to look ahead to our future goals.
“We need be united, to bring everyone in one path, to look ahead to our goals, to achieve our targets, to get as many things done as possible especially by the year 2015.
‘Work well done’
“There are many great things that can be done in two years’ time. We should expect some changes and we’d like to see smooth transition to our goals and understanding between all MAs.
“Some of our goals have been met while others have yet to be concluded and I’d like to thank former acting president Zhang Jilong for the work well done in this respect.
“We have to go hand-in-hand to implement our reforms such as those done by other confederations. We should try to look at the future, not only our past.”
The new AFC President expressed the need for support from stakeholders outside the football world in the continental body’s quest to help the Asian game overcome its challenges.
He said: “We should look carefully at our challenges such as match fixing which is a disease. We have zero tolerance to match fixing and corruption practices and we need to make full use of all our tools to fight this phenomenon.
“This problem should not only be tackled from the football side only, but also we need good policing and support from the governments – and we should try to create mechanisms to tackle this issue in Asia.”