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By ESPN Staff

AFC general secretary Velappan to step down

SINGAPORE, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Asian Football Confederation general secretary Peter Velappan will step down after 30 years in the job at the end of this year, the AFC said on Thursday.

'The time has come to say goodbye,' Velappan told the AFC Executive Committee on Thursday, its website reported.

'I have served Asian football for long and am happy at the way the AFC has grown.

'When I look back at my journey, it is nothing less than a dream. We started out in a small office with one secretary and look at what the AFC and Asian football have achieved today... I am overwhelmed.'

The 71-year-old Malaysian said he has no doubts about AFC's position in the near future.

'Under President Mohamed Bin Hammam's leadership we are scaling the heights like never before,' he said.

'In five to ten years' time we will be on top of the world.'

Velappan's deputy Paul Mony Samuel will take over the role on Jan. 1 2007.