— Published 2 February 2023

Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa reappoints for four years


Elections come and go in the football world. What they have in common is that the election is a foregone conclusion. Like Gianni Infantino at FIFA and Aleksander Ceferin at UEFA, Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa went before the voters of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Wednesday 1 February without the slightest opposition for the presidential post. He was re-elected for a further four-year term at the body’s congress in Manama, Bahrain, without any real need to count the votes. “I would like to thank you all for placing your trust in me for another four-year term,” he said at the podium even before his victory was made official. “Asian football has entered a new era“. Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa became AFC president in 2013 after Qatari Mohamed bin Hammam was forced out of football for life following accusations of corruption and conflicts of interest. He was then re-elected unopposed in 2015 and 2019. With this new election, he is guaranteed to retain his position as FIFA vice-president. The AFC congress was held earlier this week in Bahrain in the presence of Gianni Infantino, against whom Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa ran for the FIFA presidency in 2016. But it seems that the two men have since found every reason to make common cause. The Italian-Swiss was one of the first to congratulate the Asian football strongman after his election success, later taking the opportunity to congratulate Asia on hosting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. “The best World Cup ever,” Gianni Infantino repeated. With Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa at the helm, the AFC and its 47 member countries have already called for a vote for the FIFA president, who is the only candidate for a third term at the body’s congress next March in Kigali, Rwanda.