MANAMA: Asia’s football chief silenced a South Korean protest over voting on Thursday as he flexed his muscles shortly after being handed a fresh, four-year term in office.
Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa refused to let Korea’s soccer boss Chung Mong-Gyu speak when he tried to complain about voting at the Asian Football Confederation congress.
Chung said “I want to make a statement” but when he wasn’t given permission, he approached the stage for an animated discussion with Shaikh Salman.
The Bahraini royal then told the congress, in his home city of Manama: “If anyone would like to make a statement, it has to be by written request.
“We can open the floor and everybody can talk. If I allow Korea we will have 10 or 20 other members who would like to talk. This will not get us anywhere.”
The controversy stemmed from a move to divide voting for three FIFA executive committee seats into a ballot for one two-year term, and a separate poll for two four-year stints.
While Chung lost out in the eventual voting, Shaikh Salman’s ally and Kuwaiti powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad al Fahad al Sabah was elected to the two-year term unopposed.
The incident came after Shaikh Salman was also elected uncontested to a new term along with a FIFA vice presidency, significantly strengthening his position.
The 49-year-old swept to power in 2013 promising a new start after his disgraced predecessor Mohamed bin Hammam was banned from football over corruption allegations.
Shaikh Salman is a strong supporter of Sepp Blatter and has pledged Asian backing for the veteran Swiss’s election for a fifth term as FIFA president later this month.
Malaysia’s Prince Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and Kohzo Tashima of Japan won the four-year FIFA executive committee terms, ending the 18-year stint of Thailand’s Worawi Makudi.