KEIR RADNEDGE in PORT LOUIS: New Asian president Sheikh Salman portrayed himself as a man in a hurry as he prepared to lead his troops into the first FIFA Congress since his election.
The Bahraini secured a runaway victory last month to take over the AFC leadership from the banished Mohamed Bin Hammam but his term of office will last for only two years.
That is not much time in which to make an impact but he has a clear vision of what he believes can – and must – be accomplished.
Sheikh Salman told this writer: “We have to be realistic about what we can achieve but certainly some important things can be done.
“I don’t think people will expect us to bring in major changes but we have to look a few things such as the Champions League – which will allow in more teams next season – as well as setting up the ethics code and a task force against matchfixing.
“These are all very important and can be done by the end of the year hopefully.”
A longer-term objective will be a review of the AFC statutes to bring them into line with the world and other confederations.
Earlier Sheikh Salman had told federation delegates that the AFC was close to “finalising a deal with a reputable operator to provide a fraud detection mechanism to cover more than 1,000 AFC matches over the next three years including the Asian Cup 2015 inAustralia.”
He added: “Our focus is also on corruption and we are bringing this work forward and working closely with FIFA and with Interpol.”
All the problems and difficulties associated with the AFC’s decade under Bin Hammam, he hoped, had been relegated “absolutely’ to the past.
Sheikh Salman said: “We have to look at the future. Looking at the past won’t get us anywhere. We have to learn from that and move forward and doing the right things will get the support of the national associations.”