Prince Ali criticizes AFC boss agenda
HRH Prince Ali, FIFA vice president representing Asia, on Wednesday criticised a campaign by several football associations in the continent that seeks to automatically hand the position in the executive committee of the world’s football governing body to the president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as of next year.
In a letter he sent to the football community in Asia, he named the football associations of Afghanistan, North Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bahrain Qatar, Yemen and Sri Lanka as the ones behind the proposal to merge the FIFA vice president for Asia position with the position of AFC president.
The proposal would be discussed in AFC congress meeting that will be held in Brazil in June of this year, the Prince said, adding that such a move was rejected in May last year by the majority of football bodies in Asia.
Expressing his reservation over the proposal, Prince Ali urged AFC President Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, also head of Bahrain’s football association, to spend less time on politics and more on developing the sport.
“The majority of the congress that elected the current AFC president has made its decision on the matter at our annual congress in May last year. I am truly surprised that this proposal has resurfaced in the past few months, led vigorously by the current AFC president.
“It is unfortunate that the direction taken by the AFC president and other AFC officials is one driven purely by politics instead of focusing our energies and valuable time on improving the game in Asia,” he said in the letter.
The AFC leadership should instead address “the myriad challenges that AFC faces in marketing, grass-roots football, women’s football, transparency and accountability, and the list goes on,” the letter reads.
“My work will continue regardless of the outcome of this proposal,” said Prince Ali. “I only urge member associations and football officials to think about our priorities in Asia and decide accordingly. Let us choose football over politics.”