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SBD Global/May 3, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Sheikh Salman Is Elected Asian Football Confederation President In Landslide Win
Published May 3, 2013
TARGET OF ACCUSATIONS: REUTERS' Johnston also wrote Sheikh Salman "barely had time to toast his landslide victory" before he was again the target of accusations over human rights abuses in Bahrain. Sheikh Salman "went on the offensive at his first news conference." Sheikh Salman: "I have no problem, I will answer that. I just have one question -- you talk about allegations, but the question is, do you have the proof? Somebody talks about the government, I don't think this our business in football, we are football people. If anybody has the proof that the Bahrain Football Association has violated the statutes of FIFA or AFC then present it, otherwise we move on" (REUTERS, 5/2).
CLEANSING THE GAME: In Sydney, Sebastian Hassett wrote Sheikh Salman "is promising to rid Asian football of the corruption that dogged the confederation under the decade-long reign" of Bin Hammam. Sheikh Salman: "My mission is to reunite our confederation. My mission is to lead our family towards a future of growth and prosperity, a future based on good governance and integrity. Today, the Asian football family is at a crossroads. Today we have the power to erase a chapter in our history" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/2). In Abu Dhabi, Rizvi also wrote Sheikh Salman "will take over the task of Asian football chief" from acting AFC President Zhang Jilong, of China. He "is the third AFC chief from the Middle East, and the 11th overall," since the confederation was formed in '54. Unity remains at the top of the new president's agenda, "but he has promised to get tough on the scourge of match-fixing as well." Sheikh Salman: "I feel it's a disease that is spreading. We need to have a zero tolerance and I am sure with the help of the governments, support in all countries, we can win this battle" (THE NATIONAL, 5/2). XINHUA reported Sheikh Salman has promised reform, however, when asked if he can complete his reform agenda in a short two-year term, "the Bahraini gave a vague response." Sheikh Salman said, "There are many great things that can be done in two years' time. We should expect some changes and we'd like to see smooth transition to our goals and understanding between all member associations" (XINHUA, 5/2).
PROTECTING QATAR: The AP reported defeated 2022 World Cup Organizing Committee CEO Hassan Al Thawadi said that "tournament preparations won't be damaged." Al Thawadi on FIFA's decision-making board "would have strengthened Qatar's ability to protect its interests ahead of the tournament." Al Thawadi: "It's not a blow at all. Previously we didn't have members in the executive committee. In the coming months people will see the progress being made" (AP, 5/2).
CONGRATULATORY REMARKS: FIFA President Sepp Blatter said in a statement, "I congratulate Shaikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa for his brilliant election to the Presidency of the Asian Football Confederation, as well as to the FIFA Executive Committee. One of the key missions he will have to ensure is that unity prevails within the AFC. Unity, as well as solidarity, are absolutely key and necessary pillars for any institution to build solid plans and structures for its future" (FIFA).