(WFI) Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman is spearheading a new two-chamber ethics committee similar to FIFA’s in a bid to move on quickly from the corruption-hit reign of his predecessor Mohamed Bin Hammam.
The AFC Executive Committee, meeting on Monday for the first time since Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa was elected president in May, endorsed the formation of the ethics panel – one investigative and one judiciary – and also adopted a stronger ethics code in keeping with the FIFA Ethics Code.
Salman said the new committee will be functional by January and hoped that it will “help AFC fight corruption at all levels”.
The Bahraini was elected head of the AFC following an overwhelming first round victory in Kuala Lumpur. He replaced Bin Hammam, who was banned for life by FIFA last December after being found guilty of misusing AFC funds.
After securing the top job in Asian football, Salman indicated that he wanted to put his stamp on the AFC.
“There are things that can be done in the two years. We can expect some changes of course, but I think that we have to be realistic in our goals as well,” he said, referring to the fact that his presidential term will last just 19 months before the next election .
In other news from this week’s AFC meeting in the Bahraini capital Manama, Salman also praised FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s efforts to resolve the travel restriction issues faced by Palestine footballers.
The Swiss met with Israeli and Palestinian football leaders and politicians on a tour of the region last week.
FIFA has formed a task force to resolve the problems. Blatter, UEFA president Michel Platini and the Bahraini head of Asian football are on the panel as well as the presidents of the Israel and Palestine football associations. The task force will meet on Sept. 3.
Palestine is one of a handful of nations who have expressed an interest in staging the FIFA Congress in 2017.
Jordan, Korea Republic and Uzbekistan are bidding only for the 2016 FIFA congress. Malaysia, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates are bidding both the 2016 and 2017 congresses.
Other bidders for the 2016 international gathering of FIFA and its 209 member associations include Costa Rica, Canada, Greece, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, South Africa and Turkey.
Costa Rica, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, South Africa and Turkey are interested in the 2017 FIFA Congress.
The candidates will now have to present a formal bid, with the final decision on the hosts taking placing at the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in December.
Award for Korean Ex-FIFA VP
Meanwhile, former FIFA Vice-President Chung Mong-joon, who lost his seat to Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein in 2011, is set to receive an AFC Diamond of Asia award.
The award recognises the Korean football administrator’s contribution to Asian football, Salman said.
“Dr. Chung played a key role in bringing the coveted FIFA World Cup to Asia for the first time in 2002 and was instrumental in showing Asian football the way to development and growth,” the AFC president said in a statement.
“He also served in many FIFA and AFC standing committees and was deservingly appointed honorary vice-president of FIFA in 2011. His philanthropic activities towards helping football communities devastated by disasters in the continent are also well-known.”
Chung will be the ninth recipient of the accolade after Saburo Kawabuchi (2005), Blatter (2006), Lennart Johannson (2007), Ken Naganuma (posthumously; 2008), General Farouk Bouzo (2009), Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak (2010), HM Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah (2011), Tan Sri Hamzah Haji Abu Samah (posthumously; 2012).
The 61-year-old, elected as the president of the Korea Football Association in 1993, was re-elected to the post four times until 2008. He was appointed honorary president of the KFA in 2009. He was elected as the FIFA Vice-President in 1994 and was re-elected to this position four times.
The award will be presented during the AFC Annual Awards to be held in Kuala Lumpur in November.
By INSIDER’s Mark Bisson
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