Bin Hammam's days numbered after AFC coup
Chan Kin-wa in Kuwait
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohammed bin Hammam looks set to be ousted from his role on the Fifa executive committee after 19 AFC members staged a coup as they openly backed his opponent Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
At a press conference yesterday, East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) secretary general, Takeo Okada, said they would support Bahrain Football Association president Al Khalifa to represent the region in the Fifa seat when Qatari Bin Hammam's term expires in two months.
Eight members out of nine from EAFF: China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mongolia, Macau and Guam joined the coup against Bin Hammam, while other supporters also included Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Cambodia and Malaysia.
The group needs just five more votes to win a simple majority from the 46-member AFC Congress which meets in May. Bin Hammam's controversial plan to shift the AFC headquarters from Malaysia to Doha and a proposal to sign a marketing deal with World Sports Group for 12 years seems to be the main reason behind the move.
'We are happy to have the opportunity to meet in Kuwait here and come up with the decision,' said Okada.
'We want to make the change because of the mismanagement at the AFC and hope our move can increase the prosperity and solidarity of the AFC.'
Al Khalifa was confident he could win the selection with the open support of so many members. He also criticised Bin Hammam's six years in office.
'At the end of the day people will judge you on what you did in the past especially six years in office as a president,' said the Bahraini. 'He [Bin Hammam] has had his time but if you don't deliver then I think your time is up. So far, we have heard nothing new from his office in the past six years.'
Fifa vice president Chung Mong-joon from South Korea has reportedly criticised Bin Hammam's plan to move the AFC headquarters to Doha, saying it was 'unwise and does not reflect the other member's stand.'
Last year, Bin Hammam also got in hot water when he warned Fifa president Sepp Blatter would soon be out of touch with the modern game if he stayed in the job any longer.
Blatter has been in charge of Fifa for over 10 years and shows no sign of relinquishing his grip on the sport's most powerful position.