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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

UAE's Mohamed Khalfan Al Romaithi lodges candidacy for AFC president bid

Current incumbent Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa is seeking a third term in office

Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi, second left, has lodged his candidacy for the AFC presidency. Pawan Singh / The National
Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi, second left, has lodged his candidacy for the AFC presidency. Pawan Singh / The National

The UAE's Mohamed Khalfan Al Romaithi has lodged his candidacy to become the next president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Current AFC president, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Khalifa, is seeking a third term in office, and was first elected in 2013 to complete the term of disgraced former president Mohamed bin Hammam.

Bin Hammam, a Qatari, was banned for life by Fifa, football's governing body, in 2011 and the AFC was led by interim president Zhang Jilong until Sheikh Salman's successful election.

The Bahraini royal was re-elected to his post in 2015 and is seeking another term in office when the confederation's elections are held on April 6 next year.

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Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa warns against 'return to turmoil' ahead of bid for re-election

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Sheikh Salman has held the top job at the AFC since 2013, and said at a congress in Kuala Lumpur in October that he had the support of 90 per cent of the body's 46 full members.

However, Sheikh Salman is set to face a challenge for office from AFC Executive Committee member Al Romaithi and AFC vice-president Saoud Al Mohannadi of Qatar, who also lodged his candidacy, according to the AFC website.

Al Romaithi's bid was also confirmed in a statement on the UAE FA website.

"Mohamed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, Chairman of the General Authority for Sports, announced his candidacy for the presidency of the Asian Football Federation in the next round of elections, which will be held on April 6 2019 in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur," the statement read.

An expected challenge from Saudi Arabia Football Federation's former president Adel Ezzat did not materialise. Ezzat had said in 2017 he would stand against Sheikh Salman in the 2019 elections.

Ezzat's hopes of a building a power base were apparently hurt in October by the decision of members of the South Asian Football Federation to withdraw from the Saudi-created South West Asian Football Federation.

The AFC president also holds a vice-president post at world governing body Fifa.