AFC sets May date for presidential election

The Asian Football Confederation will hold elections in May for

a new president to replace the scandal-tainted Mohamed bin


Acting president Zhang Jilong said Thursday that the AFC would

hold an extraordinary congress in Kuala Lumpur on May 2 to elect a


Bin Hammam, who became AFC president in 2002 and still hasn’t

been formally replaced, was found guilty of vote-buying during his

failed challenge against FIFA President Sepp Blatter in 2011 and

the FIFA ethics committee suspended him from all football activity

for life.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned that ban last July

but bin Hammam remained under provisional bans by both FIFA and AFC

as investigations continued into allegations of financial

irregularities during his tenure. The Qatari official’s life ban

was imposed again by FIFA last month after he resigned from all

football positions on Dec. 17. He has denied wrongdoing.

The AFC has now opened nominations for president and for a

female vice president, two female members on the AFC executive

committee and one position on the FIFA Executive Committee.

Zhang, a front-runner to become AFC president, said nominations

would close on March 3, 60 days ahead of the extraordinary


”We, as guardians of AFC and Asian football, must make sure

that the continent scales newer heights each year,” Zhang said in

a statement.

AFC Vice President Yousef Al-Serkal told The Associated Press

late last year that the uncertainty over the leadership of the

confederation ”has been damaging for Asian football.”

”It is has been unfortunate that something like that happened

to the AFC at a time when we are trying to develop and improve the

standard of football and that depends on the image and sponsorships

of the AFC,” Al-Serkal said.

FIFA said the 63-year-old bin Hammam sent a resignation letter

to both FIFA and the AFC in December, and that the second life ban

was a result of the final report from its ethics committee showing

”repeated violations” of ethics during his term as AFC president

and member of the FIFA executive committee.

FIFA has said evidence from whistleblowers pointed to bin Hammam

handing out $40,000 bribes in cash to each of 24 Caribbean football

nations during his campaign visit to Trinidad. A yearlong audit by

the Malaysia-based AFC also revealed ”infringements” regarding

the ”execution of certain contracts” and tampering with the

organization’s bank accounts by bin Hammam while he was