Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Saudi candidate vows to step aside if he cannot be peacemaker in AFC elections

Hafez Al Medlej insists he can still be the consensus candidate from the Gulf in the race to be AFC president next month, but says he will withdraw if no consensus between rivals Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa and UAE FA president Yousuf Al Serkal can be reached.

DUBAI // Hafez Al Medlej is confident he can still succeed in his role of "peacemaker" and emerge as the consensus candidate from the Gulf region for the Asian Football Confederation presidency - but admits he is ready to step aside if that does not happen.

Three of the four candidates in the fray for the AFC presidency - Medlej, UAE Football Association president Yousuf Al Serkal and Bahrain's Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa - are from this region, with Thailand's Worawi Makudi the only non-West Asian contender for the elections on May 2.

Efforts to field a consensus candidate from the region have so far failed and, with the elections just 10 days away, hope of agreement being reached is fading. However Medlej, chairman of the AFC's marketing committee, remains optimistic.

"This competition between Sheikh Salman and Yousuf Al Serkal has been going on for almost two years now and the leaders from the Arab world, not just sports leaders but political leaders, asked Saudi Arabia to put up a candidate to sort out this issue between Al Khalifa and Al Serkal, or we can say the UAE and Bahrain," Medlej said at a press conference.

"If that happens before the elections and they [Al Serkal and Al Khalifa] withdraw to leave only one Arab nominee, I will be there. If they insist on continuing, I will withdraw. But I am not going to withdraw now - I will do that when I am sure that there is no way that they will withdraw.

"I have entered this race as a neutral candidate and I don't want to go against any of my colleagues from the Arabic world."

Medlej also refused to comment about recent allegations of cash-for-vote against Sheikh Salman and the Olympic Council of Asia's efforts to pressurise football federations to vote for the Bahraini.

"Now, everybody is talking about corruption, whether it is Fifa or the AFC," Medlej said.

"But without hard evidence, it is easy to talk. If there is evidence, then nobody is going to allow corruption. Everybody is against it and if there is a war against corruption, I will be the first soldier."

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Chris Burch will play fly-half as part of a new-look back line for the UAE national rugby union team that will face Singapore at The Sevens grounds in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

Chris Burch to lead UAE’s charge against Singapore

he UAE’s bid to safeguard their place in the second tier of Asian rugby against Singapore next week will be piloted by a player who was contemplating retirement from the sport at this time last year.

 Seiichi Shimomura, centre, is part of a Japan squad that is the gold standard for sides such as the UAE, here in a Asian Five Nations rugby match at Dubai on May 10, 2013 and Singapore aspire to reach. Marwan Naamani / AFP

UAE and Singapore are rugby teams with a similar tale to tell

The UAE versus Singapore in rugby: a battle to see whether our expatriates are better than their expatriates, surely? Well, maybe not for much longer.

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 Sharjah Cricket Stadium's colorful past was never like this – the IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils was loud, raucous and commerical. Pawan Singh / The National

No need for rose-coloured glasses when Sharjah Cricket Stadium host IPL

Sharjah still plays well as India's home away from home when it comes to big-time cricket, but the commercial overtones were in overdrive.

 Jorginho accepts the challenge that lies ahead for Al Wasl's improvement, and the club says it will give him time ... if they see results.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Wasl will give Jorginho time but results in Arabian Gulf League are needed

Al Wasl officials said they will provide Jorginho, their new coach, sufficient time to change the club’s fortunes while also warning that his fate ultimately will depend on results.

 Mickael Barzalona riding Sudden Wonder, left, to victory in the Tattersalls Millions Trophy at Newmarket racecourse on April 17, 2014 in Newmarket, England. Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images

Godolphin boosted by performances of two fresh horses at Newmarket

Be Ready underwhelms in Craven Stakes during otherwise successful day for stables

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National