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AFC Presidential candidates get ready for elections in May

Published: Updated:

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) presidential candidate Worawi Makudi of Thailand reached out to the South Asian members of the conference on Wednesday however, the regional body said it has not made up its mind who to back yet.

South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) President Kazi Salahuddin told Reuters that “He called me this morning and we had a chat,” however, he did not reveal any details of their discussion.

Salahuddin said that two other candidates, Bahrain Football Association President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and UAE chief Yousuf Al Serkal, had also approached him regarding the May 2 election.

The SAFF chief said “I just listened to them,” when he was asked if he had given his backing to a particular candidate.

FIFA Executive Committee member Worawi already has a head start on his rivals after securing the support of 11 South-East Asian countries on Monday.

Saudi Arabian Hafez El Medle is the fourth candidate running for the post, while AFC acting president Zhang Jilong is widely expected to join the race by Sunday when the nomination deadline expires.

The AFC has been without a full-time president since Qatar’s Mohamed bin Hammam was banned for life by FIFA for corruption and bribery. China’s Zhang has held the role of AFC acting president since May 2011.

Salahuddin said the eight-member SAFF would wait for the final list of nominees before deciding which candidate to support.

Salahuddin said that “We will have to see which way the wind blows, we have not yet decided whom to support. We'll have to see the final list, think what would be good for South Asian football.

“The election is in May, so we have some time before that. Maybe we'll have a meeting in mid-April where we'll decide,” he added.

In 2011, FIFA launched a formal investigation after Mohamed bin Hammam was accused of spending $860,000 in football development grants for projects on land he personally owns.

Soccer’s world governing body eventually cleared him of any wrong doing.