Zhang Jilong will be acting president, says AFC
Updated: 2011-05-31 16:06
A photo grab of the AFC official website shows a statement from AFC Executive Committee saying Zhang will be the acting president after bin Hammam's suspansion, May 31, 2011. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]
China's Zhang Jilong has temporarily taken charge of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) after president Mohamed bin Hammam was suspended, according an AFC statement posted on its website on Tuesday.
"In light of the decision taken by the FIFA Ethics Committee regarding AFC President Mohammed Bin Hammam, the AFC's most senior vice-president, Mr Zhang Jilong will be the acting president," said the statement.
Mohamed bin Hammam, also a FIFA executive member, plans to appeal against his suspension over bribery allegations.
Zhang Jilong in the April 2011 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]
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The AFC will be following the investigation as it takes its course, and will continue its work in promoting and further developing Asian football in the spirit of Asian unity and solidarity," said the statement.
Zhang's appointment was automatic under AFC rules following bin Hammam's suspension, said Peter Velappan, who was the Asian body's general secretary for 30 years.
"The deputy president of the AFC, Zhang Jilong of China, takes over with immediate effect," Velappan said from Zurich, where he is a guest of FIFA ahead of this week's congress.
"In the absence of a president, the deputy president will become the acting president. Bin Hammam cannot oppose this development."
Velappan left the AFC in 2007 after a public falling-out with bin Hammam, and the two are known rivals. Bin Hammam was running for the FIFA presidency until dramatically pulling out on Sunday, hours before his suspension.
Zhang's appointment would add a new twist to the rollercoaster of intrigue which has characterised football's global leadership in recent days.
Zhang was a candidate for FIFA's executive committee in January but the two slots up for grabs went to Sri Lanka's Manilal Fernando and Worawi Makudi of Thailand, who are both bin Hammam allies.
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