Bin Hammam: “In Asia, I would say I have achieved a lot despite our difficulties and in spite, some times, of our misunderstandings”

(WFI) Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam today stepped up his campaign to become FIFA president, saying that a vote for him in the June 1 election will “open the door” for the six confederations to fulfill their aspirations.

The 61-year-old pointed to his spearheading of the Vision Asia project as one example of his achievements in running the Asian Football Confederation. The Qatari said he planned to replicate its success “throughout the global football scene if I am successful in my bid to become FIFA president”.

In a blog entry on Thursday, he said the initiative he launched in 2002 had been “among the most important initiatives of my administration”.

“In Asia, I would say, I have achieved a lot despite our difficulties and in spite, some times, of our misunderstandings and that is thanks to our love of football,” he wrote.

“Our involvement in the game creates a lot of different opinions and sometimes we fight over it but at the end of the day it is always for the good of the game.”

Bin Hammam called for the AFC’s 43 member nations, and FIFA’s other federations, to unite behind his vision for the FIFA presidency.

“I would love to see us come together as Asians on this journey because it is not the journey of a single person but rather it is a journey for all of Asia,” he wrote.

“Once a son of Asia is in the leading post in FIFA, I believe it will open the door for all of our ambitions in Asia and other confederations to be achieved worldwide.”

Bin Hammam’s comments came after witnessing the fruits of the Vision Vietnam project in Ho Chi Minh City at the weekend where a new city league has just concluded its season.

“In Ho Chi Minh City, we have new clubs, newly qualified referees, coaches, football administrators and a league the city can be proud of and it is an example of what we are hoping we can bring to cities and communities all over Asia,” he added.

The continent-wide programme was launched by Bin Hammam in 2002 under efforts to raise the standards of Asian football to the levels of their counterparts in Europe and the rest of the world. The ultimate goal is to produce an Asian World Cup winner.

The Vision Asia project, which covers everything from grassroots development to coaching education, marketing and administration, is currently in operation in six of the AFC’s member countries – Bangladesh, China, India, Iran, Thailand and Vietnam.

Bin Hammam is set to be named with Sepp Blatter as the only candidates
in the race
for the FIFA presidency on Saturday morning. The deadline for
nominations is midnight Friday.

Today, Chilean
football legend Elias Figueroa, the choice of the ChangeFIFA movement,
dropped out of the running after failing to get the required backing of
one of FIFA’s 208 member federations to stand for president.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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