Jordan's Prince Ali wins FIFA vice-presidency

17:50, January 07, 2011      

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Jordan's Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, head of the Jordan Football Federation, speaks during the 24th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) congress in Doha Jan 6, 2011. (Photo/Agencies)
Jordan's Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein stunned powerful South Korean Chung Mong-joon by unseating him as a FIFA vice-president on Thursday while Mohamed bin Hammam won another term as Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chief.

Chung, the controlling shareholder in industrial giant Hyundai Heavy Industries, a major FIFA sponsor, had been in the job since 1994 and was widely expected to retain the role.

But in a vote of the Asian Football Confederation's 45 eligible members at their congress in Doha, the prince won 25-20.

It was a big upset with rumors flying that Chung, 59, was to launch a campaign to unseat Sepp Blatter as FIFA president later in the year, someone he has previously feuded with.

Chung supported an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Blatter 10 years ago amid allegations of financial impropriety from the collapse of a marketing company that worked for FIFA.

He reopened the wounds just months ago when he insisted change at the top was in the interests of football's world governing body.

Now that he is no longer among the FIFA hierachy, he cannot run for the top job.

Blatter was in the audience for the vote on Thursday and will have been pleased that Prince Ali, an ally, won.

The prince becomes the youngest member of the FIFA executive committee at the age of 35 after rallying Arab support behind him.

The son of the late King Hussein and late Queen Alia, he has been president of his domestic football federation for a decade and holds the same role at the head of the increasingly-influential West Asian Football Federation.

"There has been a lot of division within Asian football and I want to bring unity," he said ahead of the vote.

"It's a very big continent and too much of the time too many people in the game have been left to themselves. I want to change this - and I think people understand my vision.

"We need to communicate more effectively between ourselves and with the other confederations.

"I, personally, have good connections to UEFA, to Africa and to the Americas and we can only all gain the more we work together. I see my job as being one of bridging gaps."

Bin Hammam, meanwhile, won a new four-year term as AFC president and vowed to take the game to a new level.

The Qatari, who has been in the job since 2002, was elected unopposed until 2015.

Another seen as potential successor to Blatter, bin Hammam has been instrumental in changing the face of Asian football.

The 61-year-old is seen as a modernizer who has overseen the launch of the AFC Champions League and the admission of Australia into the confederation.

"While Asia has not yet taken over the world, the rumblings of Asia can now be felt. We strongly believe that the future is Asia and we are working very hard towards the future," he said.

"We must push our limits and challenge the status quo."

In other votes, Thailand's Worawi Makudi retained his seat on FIFA's influential executive committee and Sri Lanka's Vernon Manilal Fernando won the vote to replace the retiring Junji Ogura of Japan.

Another Japanese, Kohzo Tashima, and China's Zhang Jilong had also been in the race.

Source:China Daily/AFP
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