AMMAN: FIFA vice-president Prince Ali of Jordan has urged the Asian football confederation to formalise the role within its strictures of the four regional federations.

This appeal appears to be a matter of commonsense since Asia is the one confederation within the world football family whose geographical spread is horizontal – across many thousands of miles – when all the others such as Europe, the Americas, Africa etc are largely vertical.

This brings enormous complications for the international competitive development of unified Asian football – for all the work undertaken by the AFC – because of varieties of time zones, climate and consequent cultures.

Prince Ali, elected last year as the AFC’s FIFA vice-president, made his appeal in an address to the Inaugural Conference for Regional Federations  in Amman, Jordan, headquarters of the West Asian Football Federation.

He said: “The Asian Football Confederation family comprises 46 member associations that are congregated into four regional football federations, each serving their football zone. Our regional federations, the ASEAN, West Asia, East Asian and South and Central. All represent the principal pillars of the Asian Football Confederation. They are part and parcel of AFC.

“AFC cannot work independently of these football federations. Similarly, our regional federations cannot advance without AFC’s leadership and its full cooperation.

“It is in the spirit of unity, solidarity and harmony in the Asian football family, that I wrote to the presidents of the regional zones last October, in my capacity as both FIFA vice-president, as well as president of the West Asian Football Federation; to garner support from all of you to seek the official recognition of our four regional federations by the AFC.

“Embracing our own federations will only strengthen our football family; in spirit and in action. AFC can and should play a more proactive role to enhance cooperation, support our programs, and encourage football exchanges on the competition and developmental levels between all four regions.”

Last month the AFC asked the federations to discuss their proposals for closer cooperation.

Prince Ali, on behalf of  West Asia, suggested: “First: Enhancing coordination on match calendars amongst the regional federations and AFC;

“Second: Capitalizing on regional competitions by utilizing them as AFC qualifiers for AFC competitions;

“Third: Drawing on our regional federations in the referee selection whereby the referee should come from a zone outside of the participating teams’ zones: this ensures fair play in all AFC matches; and

“Fourth: Creating educational and training courses for the regional federations with AFC in conjunction with their competitions.”

The AFC remains in political limbo at the moment while it awaits the outcome of a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on an appeal by Mohamed Bin Hammam against a life ban imposed on him last year by FIFA. Bin Hammam, president of the AFC at the time, had been punished over bribery allegations concerning the FIFA presidential election.



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