x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Yousef Al Serkal faces wait as West Asian football chiefs consider supporting one candidate for AFC presidency

The UAE FA chief, and his rivals for the post, met with west Asian football representatives in Amman ahead of May's election.

UAE Football Association chief Yousef Al Serkal.
UAE Football Association chief Yousef Al Serkal.

UAE Football Association chief Yousef Al Serkal's hopes of getting the backing of west Asian colleagues for the presidency of the Asian Football Confederation will have to wait until next month, after the region's contenders met in Amman.

Al Serkal is one of three nominees from the region looking to replace Zhang Jilong, who has served as acting president of the AFC since Mohamed bin Hammam's removal two years ago.

Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain and Hafez Al Medlej of Saudi Arabia have also been nominated, along with Thailand's Worawi Makudi, ahead of the election on May 2.

Fifa vice president Prince Ali bin Al Hussein called a meeting in Amman on Wednesday to give the West Asian candidates a chance to present their plans and programs to regional delegates.

No decision was reached among the representatives of 10 football associations, but the concept of supporting a single candidate has not yet been ruled out.

"It was a unanimous decision to support all nominees and to create an opportunity for an open dialogue ... to agree on one candidate who will carry the AFC presidency for the development of this sport at all levels," Prince Ali said.

Another meeting will be held next month in Amman.

Sheikh Talal Al Fahad Al Sabah of Kuwait was confident that at the next meeting everything will be clear.

"We have discussed several key issues including the nominees' programs and the requirements of each federation," he said.

After the meeting, Al Serkal said: "I am still a nominee and with any agreement in the next meeting."

China's Zhang Jilong, who has been acting president since Qatar's Mohamed bin Hammam was suspended by football's world governing body in May 2011, announced last weekend that he would not put himself forward to be president and has declined requests for further comment.

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