A senior Qatar Football Association (QFA) official has been approved to run for a seat on FIFA’s newly reformed ruling council.
Vice-chairman Saoud Al Mohannadi is one of four Asian candidates in the running, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced this weekend.
This will be Al Mohannadi’s second and Qatar’s third bid for a seat at FIFA’s top table.
The official, who is also vice-chairman of the AFC, will be up against rivals from Iran, China and Singapore who are up for two seats on the influential council.
His rivals include:
- Zhang Jian, the first vice-president and general secretary of the Chinese Football Association;
- Ali Kafashian Naeni, former president of the Iranian Football Federation; and
- Zainudin Nordin, president of the Football Association of Singapore.
A third place on the council is reserved for a female candidate. Currently, the three vying for the seat are Australia’s Moya Dodd, Mahfuza Ahkter from Bangladesh and Han Un Gyong from DPR Korea.
All seven candidates have passed an integrity review by FIFA and been given a green-light to stand for the council, the AFC said.
“The FIFA Review Committee has informed the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) that the candidates who have indicated they will stand for election to the FIFA Council comply with the eligibility requirements,” it added in a statement.
A previous list of potential candidates issued by the AFC in June included an eighth person – the Korean billionaire Mong Gyu Chung, who was re-elected last month as head of the Korea Football Association.
The AFC did not give a reason why Chung was excluded.
The new positions will be chosen in an election on Sept. 27 in Goa, India, the AFC added.
The 36-member council was established as part of anti-corruption reforms at the organization. It replaces the former 24-seat Executive Committee (ExCo).
Chaired by FIFA president President Gianni Infantino, it has a strategic role and will hold its first meeting in Zurich on Oct. 13, Reuters said.
Among its duties will be to create a shortlist for the host of future World Cups. FIFA member federations will then vote to pick a winning host country.
The QFA vice-chair also stood for an ExCo position last year. However, he withdrew in April, just days before the elections were due to be held.
Up against candidates from Kuwait and Oman, he said at the time that he hoped his colleagues in the region would rally behind a single candidate from West Asia.
Some observers have said Qatar officials were running for positions because the country wants more of a voice at FIFA.
The Gulf country is hosting the 2022 World Cup and has faced widespread criticism for its human rights record, among other things.
Meanwhile, in 2013, Hassan Al Thawadi, the now-Secretary General for the 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, also unsuccessfully bid for a seat on the FIFA committee.
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