Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi withdraws from AFC presidency race
Emirati's withdrawal paves the way for the re-election of Bahrain's Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa
Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi on Thursday announced his withdrawal from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) presidency race, paving the way for the re-election of Bahrain's Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.
Al Romaithi and Sheikh Salman said in a statement that they would work together for the "independence and transparency of the AFC".
Sheikh Salman visited Al Romaithi in the UAE, and the chairman of the UAE General Authority for Sport thanked the AFC president and said he is looking forward to helping take Asian football into the future.
"I would like to thank Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa for his initiative and his visit to the UAE," Al Romaithi said. "My candidacy from the start was not to seek a position.
"It's main motive was to place Asian football in the right place in the world through a program that reflects my vision of how to develop the game in the world's largest continent.
"I was delighted to welcome Sheikh Salman to benefit from this program and work on achieving it. I will spare no effort in its support in order to reach this goal, which is in the benefit of all."
Al Romaithi had launched his campaign earlier this month, outlining his manifesto entitled “Making Football Fair”.
He promised to revive Asian football by raising $320 million (1.175 billion) in sponsorship, boosting the annual investment across all 47 member associations by at least $2m, and developing significantly both women’s football and youth football.
His withdrawal leaves Sheikh Salman facing Qatar's Saud Al Mohannadi in the election, which is due to be held on April 6.
Sheikh Salman is bidding for re-election for a third term. He was first elected in May 2013, taking over from the disgraced Mohammed bin Hammam after the Qatari was banned from all football activity on bribery charges.
The Bahraini was re-elected in 2015 and in 2018 was appointed Fifa vice-president.
Updated: March 21, 2019 10:09 PM