HAMMAM RETAINS HIS SEAT
The Asian football family is split into two. Mohamed bin Hammam retained his FIFA executive seat after garnering 23 votes against 21 for his challenger from Bahrain, Sheikh Salman Ebrahim Al Khalifa, with two spoilt votes. Of the 46 member countries, half are not happy with the way things are being conducted in AFC.
Surely Sheikh Salman's campaign team would be disappointed with the fact two individuals who came all the way to the 23rd AFC Congress chose not to make a choice...
The outcome of a bitter campaign is a clear signal, however, that Hammam, for all his success in raising the profile of Asian football, has to mend his ways and make decisions based on consensus.
Anyway I'm happy the headquarters, officiated in 2000, remains in Kuala Lumpur after item 13 in the agenda was proposed to be deleted by Hammam and greeted with an applause from the delegates. The AFC hq was shifted to Ipoh in 1965 from Hong Kong before it was moved to Kuala Lumpur in 1974.
"I met the Prime Minister of Malaysia last night and he had given his personal assurance the Government of Malaysia would look into our requests," said Hammam in what could be construed as a last-ditch attempt to pacify his critics.
To the man from the desert (to borrow Peter Velappan's now infamous jibe) Mr Mohamed bin Hammam Al-Abdulla, it must be one of his most memorable birthdays ever. The Qatari construction tycoon turns 60 today and has come under siege from many quarters. Most will wish him "many happy returns" but many too are anxious to say "good riddance".
Tell me what Swiss Blatter is thinking while the embattled Hammam clings on to power. Pic courtesy of Razlan of sportsmalaysia.net
They make decisions on behalf of the football family, from left Japan's Junji Ogura who supports Sheikh Salman Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Thailand's Worawi Makudi, a staunch ally of Hammam and of course, one of my favourite all-time legends, UEFA president, Michel Platini. Thanks sportsmalaysia.net
The only time I came tete-a-tete with Platini was when the AFC House was officiated by the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Ahmad Yusof, Zainal Abidin Hassan and Datuk Dell Akbar Khan and loose cannon were privileged enough to have this picture taken with arguably the greatest French footballer. Both Platini and loose cannon were much slimmer then