Acting AFC chief Zhang looks to new era

Interim AFC chief Zhang Jilong wants to move on from the harm caused by the scandal which has engulfed suspended president Mohamed Bin Hammam.Zhang, a senior vice-president at the AFC, assumed interim presidential duties after Bin Hammam was suspended from all football activities over sensational bribe claims ahead of a proposed tilt at the FIFA presidency.

The 59-year-old said he wanted to progress the AFC from the current controversy and indicated that the Asian governing body was not interesting in dwelling on the controversy engulfing their former leader, who will have to disprove the corruption claims if he is to resume his role.

“My priority at the new post is to ease the negative effect of Bin Hammam’s corruption allegations on Asian soccer. We should aim to improve the AFC’s operations and make it run more transparently,” Zhang told Chinese website Sina.com.

“I hope to solidify the whole Asian soccer community and make the federation operate steadily after the crisis.”

“Scandals such as bin Hammam’s bribery allegations harm the sport’s beauty. Anyone who does not show transparency should pay for it.”

“Although FIFA’s reputation has been questioned, I believe in its determination to fight against corruption or any potential behaviour that disobeys moral principles.”

The Chinese Football Association has opted to back Zhang’s appointment, a move which could indicate a changing of the guard in Asian football politics, which have been dominated by Qatari Bin Hammam in recent years.

 


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