Plans to elect new members to FIFA’s reformed executive committee went south yesterday after officials almost unanimously rejected the session’s agenda.
Asia’s top football officials were apparently displeased after FIFA at the last minute barred a senior Qatari official from running for an ExCo spot.
In a statement yesterday, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said that members voted 42-1 to end the meeting only 27 minutes after it started.
It quoted AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa as saying:
“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.”
Today the AFC and Asian football has shown solidarity and unity. The message has been clear to everyone both inside and outside Asia.”
Last month, FIFA announced that Qatar Football Association (QFA) Vice Chairman Saoud Al Mohannadi was under investigation for alleged ethics violations.
FIFA did not disclose any details about the inquiry. However, it did say it was not related to the awarding of the 2022 World Cup, which Qatar is hosting.
At the time, QFA expressed disappointment about the news, and said it was confident Al Mohannadi would be found innocent of any allegations.
It added that the official, who is also AFC vice chairman, planned to stay in the running for one of three ExCo spots in this week’s election.
However, a few days ago FIFA informed the AFC that Al Mohannadi was not eligible to participate.
According to AP, the official had been a favorite to win. It quoted Praful Patel, AFC vice president and president of the All India Football Federation, as adding:
“There were a lot of people who hoped to file their own nominations. Whether somebody was barred or banned, I wish this process had been done earlier. The others could have also had the opportunity to stand and that’s why it got cancelled.”
The AFC said it will work with FIFA to set a new date for its next extraordinary congress session.