LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Asian Football Confederation President Sheik Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa says his election dispute with FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein is not personal.
Both positions are due for election next year and Sheik Salman of Bahrain believes the FIFA seat — which is senior to his own ordinary membership of FIFA's board — should rightfully go to the AFC leader.
He proposes changing AFC statutes on June 9 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, ahead of the World Cup kickoff.
"We have to be, let's say, a sportsman on and off the field and accept it and not be too personal about anything," Sheik Salman told The Associated Press ahead of the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday. "It is not about Salman or Ali or anybody."
Prince Ali of Jordan has written to 46 AFC members expressing surprise that Sheik Salman revived a plan they rejected just last May.
Then, Sheik Salman was elected with support from the influential Olympic Council of Asia to complete the four-year mandate of Mohamed bin Hammam. The Qatari resigned while under investigation for financial mismanagement at the AFC and was expelled from football by FIFA.
Sheik Salman questioned whether his role as AFC leader should be regarded as junior to the FIFA vice presidency when outside Asia.
"Does it make sense? It is as simple as that," he said. "Everybody has to bring his case and we have to convince the others what's the right decision for the organization, not individuals. If the majority feels it wants it to be changed, it's fine. Let's not take it further than that."
Asia currently elects four delegates to the 27-member FIFA executive committee, and also has co-opted women's representative Moya Dodd of Australia.
Three positions are due for election next year.
Prince Ali won his vice presidency as a reformist in 2011, defeating longtime incumbent Chung Mong-joon of South Korea.