Sheikh Salman Elected AFC President

May 2, 2013

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has elected Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa as their new president, despite concerns over his human rights record.

Salman secured 33 of the 46 votes to beat Yousuf Al Serkal of the United Arab Emirates (six votes) and Thailand’s Worawi Makudi (seven votes) in a land slide victory.

The Bahraini also defeated Hassan Al-Thawadi by 28 votes to 18 to secure a seat on the FIFA Executive Committee.

Salman expressed his happiness at the outcome and said: “Today I’m proud and happy, proud and happy to see the Asia football family gathered together.

“Proud and happy to see our family united under one roof in the capital of Asian football.

“We need complete reforms, what we need is an AFC where decision makers are accountable.”

Salman replaces Mohamed Bin Hammam who was banned for life by FIFA over allegations of buying votes during the lobbying process.

Since then the AFC has been under the interim leadership of Zhang Jilong, but his time has been riddled with matchfixing and graft scandals among member associations.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter offered his support to Salman and said: “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.

“With two thirds of the world population, Asia clearly plays a huge role in the international football community. But it certainly has not yet reached its full potential.”

Salman is a controversial winner. Human rights groups had demanded Blatter removed him from the election process due to the Bahraini royal’s apparent breach of human rights during the pro-democracy uprising in 2011.

Sheikh Salman, the head of the Bahrain Football Association, denied the groups’ accusations that players were arrested, detained, abused, tortured and publicly humiliated under his direction for their role in the protests.

Defeated Al Serkal said: “I will have to work with him and he will have to work with me.

“I’m not going to be a cause or a reason to create friction between my country or any other country.

“My job, my role, is to bring people together, that is the spirit of sports, the spirit of football.”

Moya Dodd re-elected AFC Vice-President

Australia’s Moya Dodd was also re-elected unopposed as the AFC Vice-President for term 2013-2015.

Dodd, an AFC Vice-President since 2009 and the Chairwoman of the AFC Women’s Committee said: “I am delighted to be re-elected as AFC Vice President and very grateful to our Member Associations for their confidence in me.

“The opportunities for Asian football are second-to-none. I look forward to working with our new President to better serve football, and especially women’s football, on our diverse continent.”

Read the special report by Keir Radnedge here >>