Yousuf Al Serkal is head of the UAE football federation (Getty)

(WFI) United Arab Emirates FA chief Yousuf Al Serkal tells World Football INSIDER he will be a candidate to replace the scandal-hit Mohamed Bin Hammam as Asian Football Confederation president.

“Yes, I am certainly. I can definitely confirm,” the AFC vice president told INSIDER on Thursday shortly before boarding a flight.

His comments came a short time after acting AFC president Zhang Jilong chaired a meeting of the executive committee in Kuala Lumpur. A decision was taken today to set the presidential election date for May 2 in the Malaysian capital.

Zhang and Bahrain FA chief Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa are also expected to declare their intentions to replace the disgraced former AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam.

INSIDER understands that Sheikh Salman, who fought a bitter presidential election campaign against Bin Hammam in 2009, is in Zurich today for a private meeting with Sepp Blatter. His desire to lead Asia’s 46 football associations seems certain to come up.

Sheikh Salman has previously told INSIDER that he is interested in becoming Asian football’s top administrator if Bin Hammam failed in his bid to keep control of the AFC.

In the past year, China’s Zhang has made no secret that he wants the AFC presidency on a permanent basis after being given the caretaker role while Bin Hammam fought corruption allegations.

FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein today said he had no intention to run for the AFC presidency.

“Look forward to a transparent and proper election,” he tweeted.

“I also look forward to candidates with clear football programs that outline how Asian football will rise to its full potential.”

Despite dropping charges that Bin Hammam tried to buy the votes of Caribbean officials during his campaign to unseat Sepp Blatter in the 2011 elections, FIFA last month handed a second lifetime ban to the Qatari following claims of financial mismanagement as AFC chief. The day before he had officially resigned his FIFA and AFC duties.

FIFA

Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa is meeting Sepp Blatter in Zurich today (World Football INSIDER)

ethics investigator Michel J. Garcia said the lifetime ban was based on “repeated violations” of the FIFA Code of Ethics, specifically a section dealing with conflicts of interest during his presidency of the AFC and as a member of the FIFA Executive Committee from 2008 to 2011.

Earlier last year, the Court of Arbitration for Sport had overturned a life ban handed down by the previous incarnation of FIFA’s ethics committee. The CAS said there was insufficient evidence to support claims he offered $40,000 cash bribes to Caribbean Football Union members.

Zhang announced today that AFC would elect a new president at the confederation’s extraordinary congress on May 2. One female AFC vice president will also be elected along with two female executive committee members. The terms will be from 2013 until 2015, while the member chosen to represent the AFC on the FIFA Ex-Co will have a four-year term until 2017.

Nominations for all the positions opened on Jan. 31 – 90 days before the extraordinary congress – and will close on March 3.

The candidates will be announced on April 2, launching 30 days of high-profile campaigning before the elections.

The AFC’s ordinary congress slated for May 3 will fulfill the AFC’s other business, including amendments to its statutes.

The AFC Ex-Co also announced it has nominateed Moya Dodd of Australia, the confederation’s vice president and chairman of its women’s committee, as the AFC’s candidate for the position of women’s football representative on the FIFA Executive Committee.

Lydia Nsekera, president of the Burundi Football Association, has occupied this seat on the Ex-Co since being co-opted at the FIFA Congress in Budapest last year.

The election for this position will be held during the FIFA Congress in Mauritius on May 30.

By INSIDER’s Mark Bisson

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