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May 2, 2013

Sheikh Salman wins AFC presidency

Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain has won the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) presidential election by a landslide margin.

• Duerden on the AFC leadership

Salman claimed 33 votes in the first round, while Worawi Makudi of Thailand picked up seven, and Yousuf Al Serkal of the United Arab Emirates managed just six.

The Bahraini will take over from acting president Zhang Jilong for the next two years, until the next AFC Congress in 2015.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini were present as Salman also won a seat on the FIFA Executive Committee, defeating Hassan Al Thawadi by 28 votes to 18.

Salman explained in his address to the congress that "now we can write a new page in the history of Asian football".

He went on to insist he will aim to unite leading figures and called on AFC members to take initiative in changing the view of football in Asia through reforms.

"Today I'm proud and happy, proud and happy to see the Asia football family gathered together," he said. "Proud and happy to see our family united under one roof in the capital of Asian football. We need complete reforms, what we need is an AFC where decision makers are accountable.

"You need to be part of an open, fair transparent dialogue in the future. Our acting president, Zhang Jilong, has started this dialogue successfully, we can be grateful for a man to take the role at a challenging time. Clean up the past and turn the page for the future, restore transparency and integrity."

Al Serkal was expected to push Salman to the top job, but later conceded his campaign fell short, congratulating his rival on the result.

"I congratulate Skeikh Salman, the competition between us was honest and I strongly support him," Al Serkal stated.

A fourth candidate, Hafez Al Medlej of Saudi Arabia, withdrew on Wednesday night after gaining little support.

Australian Moya Dodd retained her role as AFC vice-president.

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