Mohamed bin Hammam, a former executive who FIFA recently banned for life, is going to remain president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), for now. The news comes after the regional body declined to convene an extraordinary congress to replace him before May.
After learning of his ban from the worlds governing soccer body, bin Hammam requested that the AFC wait for the outcome of his appeal before they reached a decision.
China’s Zhang Jilong, currently serving as acting AFC president, pleaded that members ”join hands and face the current challenges that are confronting the Asian game like a concerned and united family.”
The 19 delegates who met Friday agreed to form a committee to “assess the current situation and advise and guide the AFC acting president in the business of the confederation,” but no date was set to establish the ad-hoc committee.
Under AFC statutes, which allow the position of president to be vacant for only one year, an extraordinary congress and election must be held if bin Hammam’s appeals aren’t resolved by May 29, 2012.
But the executive committee had the option of voting for immediate action under a separate article of the AFC statutes, which allows it to convene an extraordinary congress “whenever deemed necessary.”
Bin Hammam had written to the confederation’s 46 member associations Monday to seek understanding, patience and support as he prepares to appeal. He denies giving cash to Caribbean officials in exchange for supporting his bid to become FIFA president and contends that the allegations were made because he was a threat to Sepp Blatter’s re-election.
The decision to delay any moves to replace bin Hammam followed comments earlier in the week from FIFA vice president Prince Ali Al Hussein of Jordan, who urged the AFC not to leave the presidency unresolved.
“Mr. Bin Hammam has the right to appeal and that is his own personal decision and we respect that,” Prince Ali told The AP in an email. “However, it would be unacceptable for anyone to try and drag AFC and Asian football into any process through irresponsible action. I certainly will not accept that.”
Bin Hammam has denied all charges and said he has “all the right to fight against this shameful decision until I clear my name.”