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Adel Ezzat resigns from Saudi Arabia post ahead of AFC presidency bid

Adel Ezzat has resigned from his post as president of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation in a bid to run for Asia's top job in 2019.

The official took the Riyadh post in December 2016 but now has his eyes on becoming president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in next year's elections.

"I presented to [Saudi sports chief] Turki al-Sheikh my resignation from my position as of today," Ezzat, who will be temporarily replaced by deputy of the federation Nawaf Al-Temyat until new elections can be held, told Saudi television on Sunday.

"I will begin preparing for elections of the Asian Football Confederation, which will be held next year," he added.

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa is the current president of the AFC after being elected unopposed in 2015, and the Bahraini's four-year term ends next year.

While he has continental ambitions, Ezzat already has regional responsibilities.

Last week he was elected as head of the South West Asian Football Federation (SWAFF), a new regional bloc which has 14 members.

"It's well documented that football is poised for significant growth across South and West Asia so we must harness the collective expertise and strengths of the member nations into a united force to seize this opportunity," Ezzat said.

"SWAFF will help provide that focus, complementing the existing support provided by FIFA and the AFC."

Ezzat's ambition to become Asian president and the creation of the SWAFF, a Saudi-initiative, is more evidence that the country is seeking more influence in Asian football politics.

"In Saudi Arabia we are very passionate about our football," Ezzat said. "The sport unites us as a nation and it can connect us to our region and the world. If sport is a universal language then none is spoken more fluently than football.

"We want to work with our colleagues from across our region -- from both South and West Asia -- to grow the game we love.

"Football stands poised on the threshold of growth, SWAFF has been established as supporting infrastructure for this growth and Saudi Arabia will grow along with it."

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