KUALA LUMPUR: Asian football’s new leader has paid generous tribute to the AFC’s long-term marketing partner World Sports Group writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, addressing an official dinner which also marked 20-year partnership between AFC and WSG, promised to work towards enhancing marketing opportunities and developing the AFC ‘brand’.

The WSG contract has proved a major source of controversy for the dependency of the confederation, the paranoid level of confidentiality concerning its terms and the circumstances surrounding its extension under former AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam.

Sheikh Salman said: “I would like to thank our sponsor World Sport Group for believing in Asian football and supporting us throughout this 20-year partnership during which we have together seen the growth of the beautiful game in this continent.

“We will now work towards enhancing marketing opportunities and develop the AFC brand further through this association.”

Seamus O’Brien, the WSG chairman and ceo, promised continued support to pursue even greater aspirations for the Asian game.

He said: “Me and my colleagues at WSG will assist AFC in any way we can to achieve our common goals. For 20 years, we’ve been through good and bad times and I believe that we will move forward even further in the future.”