Latest: Salman wins unopposed for AFC presidential election

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa retained his position unopposed on Saturday after the withdrawal of his opponents.

Salman, who was absent due to the sudden death of his mother, was elected by acclamation, without delegates casting their votes at the AFC Congress here.

The incumbent president won following the withdrawal of Saoud A Aziz M A Al-Mohannadi of Qatar and Mohamed Khalfan Matar Saeed Alromaithi from the United Arab Emirates.

Saoud and Mohamed Khalfan had initially been nominated to contest in the election for the top post for the term of 2019-2023.

In his address to the congress, FIFA president Giovanni Infantino congratulated Salman’s re-election.

“It is good to show a united football family, and to move forward in stability here in Asia,” he said.

In Salman’s speech to the congress, read out by incumbent AFC council member Praful Patel, the president said AFC had come a long way and said the body would support FIFA as the center of the sport moved towards Asia in the coming years.

“In the next few years Asia will be at the center of the football world. The Olympics in Tokyo next summer followed two years later by the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022,” he said.

The AFC president will be a vice-president ex-officio of FIFA, the world football governing body.

Sheikh Salman, from Bahrain, was first elected AFC president in 2013 for the remaining term of former president Mohammed bin Hammam, who was banned for life by FIFA for corruption. He was re-elected unopposed in 2015.