AFC congress ends in chaos

Agence France-Presse . Panaji

An Asian football congress was scrapped after just 20 minutes on Tuesday as members rejected its agenda in protest at FIFA barring a Qatari official from elections to its powerful new council.
Asian Football Confederation delegates flew from all over the region to a luxury hotel in Goa, India to elect three new members to the FIFA Council, only for the extraordinary congress to be declared closed after just 20 minutes.
The 42-1 vote against adopting the congress’s agenda will be seen as a rebuke to FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who was among those present at the short-lived gathering.
‘This has been an eventful morning — and an eventful few weeks,’ said AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, who stood against Infantino in FIFA polls in February.
‘But the congress has spoken with one voice and that has been clear for us all to see.
‘FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, I am not sure if you have been at a shorter congress but I think you can see the strength of opinion in the room.’
Various delegates told AFP that the agenda was rejected because a senior official from Qatar, hosts of the 2022 World Cup, had been barred from standing for the FIFA Council.
According to officials, it will be months before another congress is held.
Six candidates from Asia, including China and North Korea, were standing for three seats on the FIFA Council, which was set up under anti-corruption reforms earlier this year in a bid for greater transparency.
Three male candidates — Zhang Jian of China, Iran’s Ali Kafashian Naeni and Zainudin Nordin of Singapore — were set to compete for two of the seats in Tuesday’s vote.
Former Australian footballer Moya Dodd was favourite to beat Mahfuza Ahkter of Bangladesh and North Korea’s Han Un-Gyong to be the AFC’s designated female representative.

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