Football Federation Australia (FFA) has joined with all members of the Association of South East Asian Nations Football Federation (AFF) to express its support for the candidacy of incumbent AFC President Shaikh Salman at the upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) election on April 6.
The support was declared following confirmation by the AFC Electoral Committee and FIFA Review Committee earlier this month as to the eligibility of candidates.
FFA Chairman Chris Nikou, who attended the AFF Congress in Cambodia over the weekend said the decision will be formally confirmed by the FFA Board prior to the AFC Congress on 6 April.
“It was the consensus view of all of ASEAN that Shaikh Salman is the best-credentialed candidate to continue to lead the development of football both in ASEAN and in Asia more broadly.”
“Under the leadership of the Shaikh Salman, the size of the AFC Asian Cup has expanded, the FIFA World Cup qualification process has broadened, new football development initiatives have been introduced, prizemoney and subsidies for clubs participating in the AFC Champions League have increased and significantly improved terms were secured with AFC’s new marketing rights partner.”
“After discussion between the 12 Member Associations of the ASEAN region, we resolved in solidarity to support Shaikh Salman’s candidacy,” he said.
The other candidates for the election are Mohamed Khalfan Al Romaithi from the UAE and Saoud A.Aziz A Al-Mohannadi from Qatar.
Mr Nikou said FFA is acutely aware that the recent events involving Australian refugee Hakeem Al-Araibi caused some concern regarding the role of the AFC.
“During this time we were in regular dialogue with the AFC, FIFA and the Australian Government to ensure appropriate steps were taken to support efforts for Hakeem’s release and we did this privately by lobbying those in positions of influence and ultimately, through the work of many, the right outcome was achieved,” he said.