Ex-UAE cop Al Romaithi in fray to head Asian football body
With a campaign slogan ‘making football fair’, Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi, former police chief of Abu Dhabi and the chairman of UAE’s General Authority of Sports (GAS), has vowed to clean up football administration in AsiaUpdated: Mar 07, 2019 22:45 IST
Last May, Saudi Arabia’s then football chief Adel Ezzat had marshalled a formidable coalition of south and west Asian countries shortly before announcing his candidature for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president’s post.
However, within six months, that alliance collapsed as south Asian members pulled out. Ezzat never filed his nomination as that bloc decided to throw its weight behind incumbent Sheikh Salman of Bahrain.
While Saudi aspirations didn’t bear fruit, a key ally in the United Arab Emirates has forwarded his candidature for next month’s presidential election.
With a campaign slogan ‘making football fair’, Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi, former police chief of Abu Dhabi and the chairman of UAE’s General Authority of Sports (GAS), has vowed to clean up football administration in Asia. He unveiled his manifesto at the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
His plans include a minimum funding of $2 million per association and a ‘fair fund’ investment of $320 million for four years, greater transparency, clampdown on ‘outside interference’ in AFC, restructuring and expansion of youth and women’s tournaments.
Al Romaithi and Qatar’s Saoud al-Mohannadi are underdogs as Sheikh Salman is seen as having the numbers for re-election.
Al Romaithi was asked about his stance on India, where the All India Football Federation’s commercial partner Football Sports Development Limited, a subsidiary of IMG-Reliance, has had its members inducted into key panels of the federation. “I will never allow sponsors or (commercial) partners to dominate. They will have their rights as sponsors but they will not be allowed to interfere,” he said.
First Published: Mar 07, 2019 22:45 IST