(WFI) Organisers of the Soccerex Asian Forum have rescheduled the second edition of the event to avoid clashing with CONCACAF’s congress and to boost the number of Asian delegates.

Soccerex has shifted the date from mid-April to May 3 and 4.

It comes after the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football brought forward its congress to April.

The rescheduling means the Soccerex Asian Forum, to be staged again on the banks of the Dead Sea, will take place just
two days after the AFC Congress in Bahrain.

Soccerex organisers say that the close
proximity of the AFC Congress in both date and location – Jordan is just a
short flight from Bahrain – means that a significant AFC presence is
expected at the Asian Forum.

The forum is a partnership between Soccerex and the Asian Football Development Project, which is run by FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, who is bidding to oust Sepp Blatter as FIFA chief.

The Asian Forum could be a significant milestone in the FIFA presidential race; it will be held just three weeks before the May 29 election in Zurich.

Incumbent Sepp Blatter, who is seeking a fifth term as FIFA chief, is also being challenged by Dutch FA president Michael Van Praag and former Portuguese star Luis Figo.

All four candidates will be invited to attend. While it seems certain the contenders for Blatter’s throne will make the trip to Jordan, if one or two of them haven’t dropped out by then, the Swiss may be a no-show.

He will have little or nothing to gain from exposing himself to a barrage of criticism from the UEFA-backed presidential candidates, particularly in the forum of a televised public debate which Prince Ali has called for.

For Blatter’s rivals for the top job in world football, an audience of officials from the Asian Football Confederation and CONCACAF, as well as delegates from the other four confederations, will provide an opportunity for some serious lobbying for votes.

Explaining the conference’s date change, Soccerex CEO Duncan Revie said: “The rescheduling of the CONCACAF Congress meant that it would be very difficult for many of the decision-makers from this important region, and the industry worldwide, to attend the Asian Forum.

“We have long enjoyed a good working relationship with CONCACAF and were delighted to welcome a significant CONCACAF delegation, led by President Jeffrey Webb, to two of our events in 2014.”

The conference agenda has yet to be confirmed.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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