Asian body urges FIFA to rule on Council picks

Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Asia’s football body on Tuesday urged FIFA to rule whether its candidates can stand for election to the world organisation’s top decision-making body, following a walk-out over the issue last year.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said FIFA’s decision on the candidates was already overdue, after their names were submitted early this month.

“The AFC had submitted names on February 3, 2017 for the FIFA eligibility checks which were to be completed within 21 days,” an AFC executive committee statement said.

“However, the Executive Committee noted by today’s meeting FIFA had not completed the integrity checks and reiterated that clarification from FIFA was needed.”

In September, an AFC extraordinary congress in Goa was scrapped after just 20 minutes in protest at FIFA barring a candidate from elections to the powerful FIFA Council.

Members who had flown in from all over Asia voted 42-1 against adopting the congress’s agenda, calling a halt to the meeting when it was barely under way.

Various delegates told AFP that the agenda was rejected because a senior official from Qatar, hosts of the 2022 World Cup, had been blocked from standing for the FIFA Council.

Last month four candidates — China’s Zhang Jian, Chung Mong-Gyu of South Korea, powerful Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and the Philippines’ Mariano Araneto Jr — were put forward to contest three FIFA Council places.

Moya Dodd of Australia, Bangladeshi Mahfuza Akhter, North Korea’s Han Un-Gyong and Palestinian Susan R. A. Alshalabi have also been proposed to stand for a women-only position on the Council.

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