AMMAN: Asia’s FIFA vice-president Prince Ali has joined in the expressions of regret over the death of Mohammad Marwan Arafat, a former president of the Syrian Football Association, who was killed in an explosion on Tuesday. His wife was also critically wounded.

Arafat was a former referee, sports analyst and lecturer and journalist and secured a niche in football history as the first Arab and Asian referee to be appointed to a major competitive match when he was a linesman in the third place play-off at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

He had three stints as SFA president, one of those coinciding with Syria’s victory in the Asian under-21 cup in Indonesia in 1994. He was also a member of the country’s National Olympic Committee.

Prince Ali, who is also president of the Jordan FA, said: “We are very saddened by the shocking news, the football community in the region has lost one of it’s pioneers. Whether as a player, lecturer, referee, or manager, Marwan Arafat was a dedicated leader who has immensely contributed to Syrian football.”

The Syrian national news agency reported that Arafat was returning from Jordan when he was killed by unidentified gunmen shortly after crossing the border into Syria. His wife suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

Lieutenant-General Moafaq Jouma, head of the General Sport Union, said: “We offer condolences to his family and to our sport family, because his death is a loss for all of us.”

Arafat was also a member of the General Sport Union executive and the Syrian Olympic Committee

Arafat’s wife, Afaf Al Hibri,