Iran official opts out of Asian election for FIFA position

AP - Iranian soccer official Ali Kafashian has dropped out of an election to join the FIFA Council, and officials from South Korea and Philippines have entered.

The Asian Football Confederation said Thursday that four men are competing for three seats on the ruling council at a rescheduled election on May 8 in Bahrain. The contenders are Zhang Jian of China, Sheik Ahmad Al Sabah of Kuwait, Mariano Varaneta of Philippines and Chung Mong-gyu of South Korea.

The four contenders for one protected FIFA seat for Asian women are Moya Dodd of Australia, Mafuza Akhter of Bangladesh, Han Un Gyong of North Korea and Susan Shalabi of Palestine. All are members of the AFC executive committee.

All potential candidates must pass an eligibility and integrity check conducted by FIFA.

The original Asian election meeting in September in India was stopped after the FIFA ethics committee barred Saoud Al-Mohannadi of Qatar from running. Then, AFC vice president Kafashian was a candidate.

Sheik Ahmad, an influential IOC member, is seeking to retain his FIFA position despite Kuwait's suspension from world soccer and the Olympic movement since 2015 because of government interference.

Chung, the South Korean soccer federation president, was previously defeated for a FIFA seat in the last round of elections in April 2015. His cousin, Chung Mong-joon, was the FIFA vice president for Asia until losing an election in 2011.

The Asian elections will be held ahead of FIFA's annual congress in Manama, Bahrain, on May 11. The AFC is the last confederation to complete its elections and bring the re-branded FIFA Council up to a full strength of 36 members plus FIFA President Gianni Infantino.


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