FIFA: Blatter neutral in Asian election race

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FIFA has dismissed claims that Sepp Blatter supports Yousuf al-Serkal's bid to be elected Asian Football Confederation president next week.

FIFA says its president is neutral and ''has at no time provided his backing to any of the candidates.''

Al-Serkal, the United Arab Emirates Football Association president, reportedly told regional media he ''definitely'' felt he had Blatter's blessing to replace Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar.

Al-Serkal faces Sheik Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, Hafez Al Medlej of Saudi Arabia and Worawi Makudi, a FIFA executive committee member from Thailand, in a May 2 poll in Kuala Lumpur.

Before meeting Blatter in Zurich last month, Al-Serkal told The Associated Press ''if he chooses to announce (support), I will appreciate it. If he chooses not to announce, I will understand.''

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