Bahrain's Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, part of the ruling family which is trying to contain continued violent unrest and political turmoil, is among the nominees to be the Asian Football Confederation president.
The AFC said in a statement on Monday that Bahrain FA chief Al Khalifa is also in the running for an Asian seat on world governing body FIFA's executive committee along with Hassan Al Thawadi, from controversial 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar.
The AFC has been without a permanent president since May 2011 with previous boss Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar banned for life by FIFA for corruption and bribery allegations, which he denies.
United Arab Emirates soccer chief Yousuf al-Serkal and Saudi Arabia official Hafez Ibrahim al-Medlej, both from West Asia, have also thrown their hats in the ring to be the president for 2013-2015.
Thailand's Worawi Makudi will be the fourth candidate and already has the backing of the 12 votes from Southeast Asia. The AFC has 47 member associations in all.
“The nominations will now be scrutinized and the list of candidates will be sent to the member associations one month prior to the Congress in accordance with the AFC statutes,” the AFC said in a statement.
Sunday was the deadline for nominations for the May 2 leadership election, which comes a day before the AFC's ordinary Congress.
China's Zhang Jilong, the acting head of Asian soccer, had opted out of the race giving Thailand's Worawi a head start against his rivals.
Worawi, an ally of Bin Hammam, has been campaigning hard for eight votes in the South Asian region, having already confirmed the support from Southeast Asia.
His cause would be helped if his rivals from West Asia fight among themselves to garner support in their own region, though efforts are on to come to an agreement on a single candidate from the area.
Jordan's Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, the president of the West Asian Football Federation, has called a meeting on Wednesday to try to find a consensus candidate.
“There's a meeting called by Prince Ali of Jordan on the sixth of this month,” al-Serkal told Reuters on Sunday. “I don't know if there will be an agreement in the meeting, doesn't look like it.
“But I am hoping that if this meeting takes place, we can come up with a decision of fielding one contestant rather than three.”
If Qatar's al-Thawadi wins the vote for the FIFA post from 2013-2017, it could be a fillip to the 2022 World Cup hosts.
European football chief Michel Platini said on Saturday the tiny Arab state should host the World Cup in its winter because of soaring temperature in the summer and that it should share matches with neighboring countries.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said later in the day that the 2022 Qatar World Cup could be rescheduled from June and July to winter if medical evidence shows the intense Middle East heat would harm players.