AFC presidential candidate denies withdrawal reports

11 Apr 2013

Saudi Arabia’s Hafez Al Medlej has rejected reports he has withdrawn from the race for the presidency of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and has instead put himself forward as a candidate for West Asia to unite behind.

It was reported last month that the runners and riders for the top job in Asian football could be shortened after Al Medlej was quoted as saying he was considering stepping down to lend his support to fellow West Asian candidate, Yousuf Al Serkal of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The West Asian duo are part of a quartet of individuals vying for the AFC role, alongside Bahrain’s Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Worawi Makudi from Thailand. The AFC elections are set to take place on May 2 in Malaysia where a number of positions, including that of the presidency, will be decided – with Al Serkal reported to be the favourite for the role.

However, the Associated Press on Wednesday reported that Al Medlej is concerned that the rivalry between Al Serkal and Shaikh Salman could divide the West Asian vote and allow Makudi to win. Al Medlej said he will only stay in the race if both West Asian candidates can be persuaded to withdraw before the vote takes place.