ZURICH: Sheikh Salman is running out of options in his attempt to gild the Asian football presidency with the role of FIFA vice-president writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The presidents of UEFA (Europe), CONCACAF (central/north America) and CAF (Africa) are all vice-presidents of the world federation; the presidents of CONMEBOL (South America), Oceania and Asia (AFC) are not.
Asia does have a FIFA vice-president – currently Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein – but he is elected independently.
The quirks in the Asian system meant that Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, on his election last year as AFC president, had to win a further election test to become an Asian member of the FIFA executive committee.
This nonsense was exacerbated because Sheikh Salman beat Qatar’s Hassan Al-Thawadi to the FIFA slot while commonsense suggests that the world federation should always have a representative of a designated World Cup host on its governing board.
Since then Sheikh Salman had sought to have the AFC statutes revised so that the president should also take up the mantle of FIFA vice-president
However, despite his landslide victory in last year’s presidential election, no such support has been forthcoming for his bid for further power. Once already a proposal for change has been voted down decisively by AFC Congress.
Last week Sheikh Salman took the issue to FIFA’s executive committee in Zurich and was blocked again on the constitutional grounds that this was an issue for the AFC and not the world federation.
His next option is to rally support within his own executive committee for a change of AFC statutes though this, in the circumstances, might prove awkward.