ABU DHABI: Yousuf Al Serkal, president of the football association of the United Arab Emirates, has insisted his meeting with FIFA president Sepp Blatter concerned only the upcoming World U-17 Cup.

This will be hosted in the UAE in October and November. However, Al Serkal is one of four candidates for the presidency of the Asian confederation which stages an election congress on May 2.

Al Serkal insisted to local media: “We discussed a number of issues, including the UAE hosting of the World U-17 Cup. The discussions have also addressed some obstacles but they were resolved. We are working hard to ensure the success of the event.

“Blatter has great respect and love for the Arabs and he’s keen to see Asian football develop to occupy a prominent position at international level.”

World football leader Blatter has insisted he will maintain a neutral stance over the AFC election, called after a final expulsion from football of his former FIFA election challenger, Mohamed Bin Hammam.

Qatar question 

Al Serkal said, ahead of the meeting, that one of the interntional issues concerning him was whether the 2022 World Cup in nearby Qatar should be staged in summer or winter.

“Major clubs from Europe and also major football federations should seek with FIFA to move this competition from the summer,” Al Serkal said in an AP interview. “I think the decision should be taken now.

“Players will not perform at the best level that they have (in desert heat). It’s not only for the success of the competition … but also for the health of the participants, and what about the fans?”

The issue will not play in the AFC election although Qatari 2022 organizing leader Hassan Al Thawadi is challenging Bahrain’s Shaikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa for a place on the FIFA executive committee.

Sheikh Salman is also a candidate for the presidency.

Al Serkal said Sheikh Salman was  “a good friend of mine” but suggested his own feat in building a strong UAE national league could be a key election issue.”Who would be more capable of leading? A man who has developed a professional league and started a professional league in his own country, or a man who has not yet started such a competition?”#

The other two presidency candidates are Hafez Ibrahim Al Medlej of Saudi Arabia and Thailand’s Worawki Makudi.

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