DOHA: A new twist has been added to the forthcoming election battles within the Asian Football Confederation by confirmation of a candidacy from Saud Al Mohannadi, vice-president of the Qatar Football Association,
Al Mohannadi has announced he intends to stand in the April elections for a place as an AFC delegate to the executive committee of FIFA and also for the position of AFC vice-president.
The last Qatari to hold a leading role in the AFC was Mohamed bin Hammam who was president of the AFC until being expelled from world football after twin-track scandals over cash-for-votes controversy and then conflict of interest re the use of AFC funds.
However, since Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup finals the absence of a representative of the Gulf state on the governing bodies of both world federation FIFA and the AFC appears nonsensical. The QFA also believes that a top-table presence might quieten critical voices over issues surrounding Qatar’s World Cup hosting.
Al Mohannadi’s candidacy follows the failed bid of Hassan Al Thawadi to be elected on to the world governing body’s executive committee in 2013. Al Thawadi, secretary-general of the 2022 organising committee, was beaten 28-18 in a head-to-head vote with Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa.
Sheikh Salman was also elected AFC president and has since effected an alteration of statutes so that he will take over the Asian vice-presidency of FIFA, currently held by Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan.
The QFA said Al Mohannadi, previously its general secretary, had “enjoyed decades of association with football in various capacities” and completed his application before Wednesday’s deadline.
The AFC’s current FIFA exco representatives are Prince Ali, Sheikh Salman, Thailand’s Worawi Makudi and China’s Zhang Jilong. Australia’s Moya Dodd is a co-opted female member of the FIFA exco.
Makudi is expected to run again for FIFA office and others contenders include Japan Football Association vice-president Kozo Tashima and the Malaysian Football Federation president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.