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Asian football chief elected for third consecutive term

Asia’s football chief and FIFA’s second-in-command Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa won a new four-year term on Wednesday.

The Bahraini royal, who has led the Asian Football Confederation since 2013, was elected at the Asian Football Confederation Congress in his home country.

“I’d like to thank you all for placing your faith in me for another four-year term,” he said after the vote which saw him stand unopposed.

“Asian football is entering a new era.”

The Bahraini royal was a rival candidate to Infantino when the Italian-Swiss was elected FIFA president in 2016 after a major corruption scandal ended the reign of Sepp Blatter.

Sheikh Salman, whose confederation includes 47 of FIFA’s 211 associations, has said he backs Infantino’s bid for a fresh mandate this year.

Infantino congratulated al Khalifa and praised the rise of Asian football, pointing in particular to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“Obviously, the men’s World Cup in Qatar was the best World Cup ever,” Infantino said.

“It will be difficult to meet this benchmark.”

The AFC was in chaos when Sheikh Salman took charge after predecessor, Qatari businessman Mohamed bin Hammam, was banned from football for life following bribery claims and conflict-of-interest violations.

After completing the last two years of bin Hammam’s term, Sheikh Salman was re-elected unopposed in 2015 and 2019.

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