Asia chief pledges support for Blatter re-election bid
Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said Blatter maintained a strong relationship with AFC
The head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has pledged his support for FIFA president Sepp Blatter in next year's election at which the 78-year-old Swiss is expected to win a fifth term as soccer's most powerful administrator.
After UEFA president Michel Platini ruled out taking on the incumbent FIFA boss, Frenchman Jerome Champagne remains Blatter's only declared opponent at the vote taking place in Zurich next May.
AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, who is in Zurich to attend FIFA standing committee meetings, said he would back Blatter, who has maintained a strong relationship with the confederation.
"Joseph S. Blatter has always been supportive of Asia and has placed great importance in the development of Asian football through various FIFA programmes," he said on the AFC website (www.the-afc.com).
"Our growth in world football can also be credited to the dynamic relationship that the AFC has with FIFA under the guidance of Mr Blatter.
"Mr Blatter has decades' worth of experience in governing world football, therefore I have every confidence that he will continue to play an important role in its development," he added.