March 7 (Reuters) - Negotiations to try and to settle on a single candidate from West Asia for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s presidential election failed this week but there are plans for further talks, officials said.
Three of the four candidates for May’s election are from the Arabian Gulf and fears they might take votes off each other prompted West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein to call the meeting in Amman on Wednesday.
“The meeting concluded with a unanimous statement extending West Asia’s support to all contesting candidates from the region with full agreement to continue discussions next month with the objective of seeking consensus,” a WAFF statement released.
“Attendees also agreed to give the opportunity to all candidates to further consultations amongst each other.”
The AFC, which runs the game on the continent, has been without a permanent president since Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam was banned for life by FIFA for corruption and bribery.
United Arab Emirates soccer chief Yousuf Al Serkal, his Bahraini counterpart Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa and Saudi Arabia official Hafez Ibrahim Al Medlej have all thrown their hats into the ring for the May 2 election.
Thailand’s Worawi Makudi will be the fourth candidate and already has the backing of the 12 votes from Southeast Asia. The AFC has 47 member associations in all.
FIFA executive committee member Worawi, an ally of Bin Hammam, appears to have a headstart on his rivals and has been campaigning hard for eight votes in the South Asian region (SAFF).
Al Khalifa, part of the ruling family in Bahrain which is trying to contain continued violent unrest and political turmoil, skipped the meeting and the Bahrain FA was represented by its vice-president Ahmad Al-Nuaimi. (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Nick Mulvenney)