Al Serkal throws his hat into the ring
DUBAI // Yousuf Al Serkal, the former chairman of the Football Association, has confirmed he intends to run for presidency of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to replace the suspended Mohamed bin Hammam.
Bin Hammam remains nominally in charge of the AFC while he launches legal challenges against his lifetime ban from Fifa for allegedly trying to buy votes in his failed bid to replace Sepp Blatter as the Fifa president.
The AFC has delayed filling the presidency while the appeals continue, but Al Serkal says he intends to run when the position is contested.
"Now is the opportunity, following Fifa's decision not to allow Mohamed Bin Hammam to carry on his sporting duties, and for me to preside over the Asian confederation to help Asian football and bring more to the table, because I feel I have more to offer Asian football as a president," Al Serkal told Sports News Television.
The governing body for football in Asia will be forced stage an election for the position, possibly in May next year, if the suspension of bin Hammam is upheld.
China's Zhang Jilong has been the acting AFC president since bin Hammam, the former Fifa executive, was suspended by the world governing body in June on charges of corruption.
Bin Hammam was subsequently found guilty of attempting to bribe officials during his campaign to become Fifa president.
Although he is undertaking legal proceedings to clear his name, he has admitted he is not hopeful "justice will prevail".
Now Al Serkal, who resigned as the FA chairman in 2008 after putting in place the foundations for the country's professional league, hopes he can be the man to clean up the reputation of the game on the continent.
Asian football has been tarnished by the charges against bin Hammam and Al Serkal said the game must do more to stamp out corruption.
"We have to be frank, corruption, it's among players, it's among referees, it's among also officials," he said in the television interview.
"So we need to take a stand against this, we have really to work hard and work harshly against those who are corrupt. We don't need them in our world of football."
The next regular AFC congress is not until 2013.
* With agencies
Published: August 31, 2011 04:00 AM