(Sports Focus)Asian football caretaker chief quits election 'out of own will'-1st Ld Writethru
BEIJING, Mar 03, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
(Sports Focus)Asian football caretaker chief quits election 'out
of own will'-1st
Asian football caretaker chief
Zhang Jilong confirmed Sunday that he will not run for leadership
election and the decision was made "totally out of his own will".
Zhang formally announced his decision on the day which is the
registration deadline for running the election in early May.
"I will not run for the Asian Football Association presidency.
I made this decision totally out of my own will and with careful
thinking," the 61-year-old told Xinhua.
Zhang took the reins in June 2011 after former AFC president
Mohamed bin Hammam was banned from football activities over
bribery accusations which he denies. He will stay on as senior
vice president of AFC.
"I am really honored that I was entrusted with the caretaker
job while AFC was in its most difficult time.
"I am happy that I did my part to maintain the stability of AFC
and my job has been done. It is time to elect a new leader for
With Zhang's dropping out, the election will see two
candidates, namely Thai football chief Worawi Makudi and Bahrain's
Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa.
Zhang said he hoped less competition in the election will bring
more harmony to AFC.
"Peace has been a rare thing in AFC for a very long time and I
am sure that every member would like to see it again," said Zhang.
"Hopefully my withdrawal will reduce the tension and bring more
unity and harmony to the Asian soccer family."
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) expressed its support
for Zhang's decision.
"The CFA understands and respects Zhang Jilong's decision,"
said CFA in a statement sent to Xinhua.
"No matter what position China hold in AFC, CFA will firmly
support AFC and work to promote the sport in Asian," the statement
said. "CFA sincerely hopes the Asian soccer family have a future
in unity and stability."
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