KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Football Confederation has confirmed its official support for Michel Platini in the Frenchman’s bid to become next president of world federation FIFA writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
An assurance from AFC president Skeih Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa that he will support the president of Europe’s UEFA has come in a rebuttal of an attack from South Korea’s Chung Mong-joon.
Chung, for 17 years Asia’s FIFA vice-president until 2011, had accused the AFC and Sheikh Salman of underhand tactics in sending letter templates to many of its 46 member associations indicating support for Platini.
The AFC responded that all its FAs were “free to vote for the candidate of their choice” and that “any association who wishes to support a specific candidacy – or to announce their own candidate – is free to do so, whether by letter, via media conferences and statements, or through any other way that they so choose.”
Its role “to act as a collective voice for its associations within FIFA” meant that the AFC had been contacted by member associations “to ask how they can express their support for a specific candidate.”
Sheikh Salman had already expressed his “personal preference for the candidacy of Michel Platini” and so had “a growing majority of AFC member associations.”
The issue of the AFC having circulating a ‘Platini letter’ was not addressed but, notably, not denied.
Asian Football Confederation statement:
The FIFA Presidential elections next February will be decided by the FIFA Congress, which is made up of FIFA’s 209 member associations, of whom 46 are also Asian Football Confederation (AFC) members. As in any election, the electorate will be asked for their support by the candidates and will then be free to vote for the candidate of their choice; the elections will be held by secret ballot and so no member will be required to disclose who they have voted for.
Any association who wishes to support a specific candidacy – or to announce their own candidate – is free to do so, whether by letter, via media conferences and statements, or through any other way that they so choose.
It is of particular note that FIFA has in recent years introduced a requirement that obliges any Presidential candidate hoping to stand to obtain declarations of support from FIFA member associations before they can even be formally accepted as an eligible candidate. Therefore it is to be expected that, as required by FIFA, all candidates are currently seeking declarations of support in order to comply with the eligibility requirements before next month’s deadline for submission of candidatures.
Furthermore, because one of AFC’s roles, like any Confederation, is to act as a collective voice for its associations within FIFA, many AFC member associations have, unsurprisingly, contacted AFC to ask how they can express their support for a specific candidate.
The AFC President is, according to the AFC Statutes, responsible for relations with FIFA and other Confederations, and has already expressed his personal preference for the candidacy of Michel Platini, as quoted in the statement of 30 July. AFC also communicated then that it was in contact with FIFA and its sister Confederations to discuss the future of FIFA and the best way forward.
A growing majority of AFC member associations have also expressed their support for Mr Platini’s candidacy, based on his credentials to lead world football, whilst others have expressed an interest for other candidates, have expressed no interest at all, or are waiting before making up their minds.
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