AFC president Hammam comes calling to seek India vote


New Delhi : Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohammad Bin Hammam Thursday completed his brief visit to India to campaign for the FIFA executive committee elections in May.

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Hammam arrived here Wednesday evening in his private jet with a nine-member team and was received by All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) vice-presidents Subrata Dutta and A.R. Khaleel.

Hammam then went to a city hospital to see AIFF president Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, who is in coma after suffering a cardiac attack last year.

The AFC president also attended the official dinner hosted by the AIFF and left Thursday morning to continue his election campaign.

Hammam, a Qatari national, has held the West Asia FIFA seat since 1996, and Bahrain’s Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa had a good chance of dislodging him during the AFC Congress in May. Asia has four seats on the FIFA executive committee.

During the dinner, Hammam, who is a close ally of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, reportedly said he has 31 votes and is confident of winning.

In recent months, Hammam had come under fire for a controversial plan to shift the AFC headquarters from Malaysia. The move was criticised by, among others, FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-Joon of South Korea.

South Korea’s football body also demanded an apology from Hammam, who in a television interview reportedly insulted Korean Football Association (KFA) chief Cho Jung-Yeon by saying he was ready to “cut Cho’s head off.”