Asian elections for FIFA council to be held in February
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Asian elections for three additional seats on the new FIFA Council will be held at the end of February in Kuala Lumpur after the extraordinary congress in Goa was postponed last month, the continent's governing body said on Saturday.
Delegates to September's Asian Football Confederation extraordinary congress, which had been called to conduct the election, voted down the agenda of the meeting in a row over the disqualification of a Qatari candidate.
"The Asian Football Confederation Extraordinary Congress will be held on February 28, 2017, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia," the AFC said in a statement. "The AFC has informed its member associations about the new date."
World governing body FIFA banned Qatari Saoud Al-Mohannadi two days before the election because of an ongoing ethics investigation, leaving insufficient time for new candidates to join the six remaining in the field.
With FIFA President Gianni Infantino watching on, forty two of the 44 members who had voting rights at the Goa meeting raised a "No" card when AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa called for the agenda of the meeting to be passed.
Al-Mohannadi, a vice-president of the Qatar Football Association who denies any wrongdoing, was one of the favourites to win a seat on the new body and had cleared the necessary FIFA integrity check.
A FIFA ethics investigator in August recommended Al-Mohannadi be banned from the game for at least two-and-a-half years for refusing to cooperate with an inquiry.
Asia's three additional seats on the new council, which replaces the old FIFA Executive Committee and has already met twice, include one reserved for a woman.
Australian Moya Dodd, formerly a co-opted member of the Executive Committee, was slated to take on Mahfuza Ahkter of Bangladesh and Han Un-Gyong of North Korea.
AFC said the new extraordinary congress in Malaysia would also hold an election for the seat of another FIFA Council member for the term 2017-2019, currently held by Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the Kuwaiti president of the Olympic Council of Asia.
(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Nick Mulvenney)