MANAMA: Kuwaiti sports powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah has extended his influence after being voted on to the FIFA executive comittee writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Sheikh Ahmad was elected ultimately unopposed for the single two-year slot available in elections at the Asian Football Confederation Congress in Manana, Bahrain.
All the other candidates for FIFA exco places notified the electoral commission, immediately before the vote of their withdrawal from the ballot for the two-year slot which Sheikh Ahmad had targeted well in advance.
So well in advance, in fact that his ally – AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa – had overseen a change in statutes minutes earlier to manipulate the voting system in Sheikh Ahmad’s favour.
Sheikh Ahmad holds probably more significant presidencies than anyone else on the sporting planet. He is leader of the Association of National Olympic Committees, of the Olympic Council of Asia and of the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Soldarity commission.
He is the fourth IOC member now on the executive committee of FIFA after its own president Sepp Blatter, African football chief Issa Hayatou and Burundi’s Lydia Nsekera.
Sheikh Ahmad, a former head of the oil cartel OPEC, is thought to have an eye on a possible run for the FIFA presidency himself in 2019.
Elected . . .
President and FIFA vice-president: Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa (Bahrain; uncontested)
FIFA executive committee: Prince Abdullah Al-Haj Ibni Sultan Hj Ahmad Shah (Malaysia, ASEAN zone), Kohzo Tashima (Japan, east zone), Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al Ahmad Al Sabah (Kuwait, west zone).
AFC vice-presidents: Winston Lee Boon Aun (Singapore, ASEAN), Zhang Jilong (China, east), Ali Kafashian Naeini (Iran, central), Saoud A. Aziz Al Mohannadi (Qatar, west), Praful Manoharbhai Patel (India, south).
AFC female exco members: Moya Dodd (Australia, ASEAN), Han Un Gyong (North Korea, east), Zohra Mehri (Afghanistan, central), Susan Shalabi (Palestine, west), Mahfuza Akhter (Bangladesh, south).
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