Football Federation Australia have declared its support for the candidacy of incumbent AFC Present Sheikh Salman at the Asian Football Confederation election on April 6.
The announcement came hours after the members of Association of South-East Asian Nations Football Federation (AFF) unanimously decided to support Sheikh Salman’s campaign for re-election.
FFA Chairman Chris Nikou says the decision will be formalised by the FFA board prior to the April election.
“It was the consensus view of all of ASEAN that Sheikh Salman is the best-credentialed candidate to continue to lead the development of football both in ASEAN and in Asia more broadly,” Mr Nikou said.
In a statement, Mr Nikou believes the incumbent AFC president has succeeded in developing and expanding football in Asia.
“Under the leadership of the Sheikh Salman, the size of the AFC Asian Cup has expanded, the FIFA World Cup qualification process has broadened, new football development initiatives have been introduced, prizemoney and subsidies for clubs participating in the AFC Champions League have increased and significantly improved terms were secured with AFC’s new marketing rights partner,” Mr Nikou said.
“After discussion between the 12 Member Associations of the ASEAN region, we resolved in solidarity to support Sheikh Salman’s candidacy.”
The decision has received backlash following allegations of Salman’s involvement in the crackdown against athletes involved in pro-democracy protests in Bahrain in 2011, as well as a perceived lack of support shown towards the detained Hakeem al-Araibi.
Salman was re-elected as AFC president in 2015 and was appointed as FIFA Senior Vice President in 2018.