Zhang: Governments can help fight AFC corruption

Acting President of the Asian Football Confederation Zhang Jilong believes it is up to governments to combat corruption in the region.Zhang has taken temporary charge of the top job in the AFC from suspended president Mohamed Bin Hammam, who is under investigation for alleged corruption.

Chinese Zhang, 59, inherits a grim situation in the confederation, with corruption scandals blighting football in South Korea, Malaysia and his own country.

Indonesia are also in strife after failing to appoint a new chairman by an allotted FIFA deadline.

While acknowledging the damage caused by the scandals, Zhang insists the individual national associations and their respective government must be responsible for cleaning up the sport.

“Inside China, football is really facing very difficult problems with match-fixing, corruption and so on,” Zhang said.

“This has been found out by the Chinese Football Association itself … It has been solved or it’s on the way to being solved by the concern of the Chinese government and the Chinese fans.”

“And also the same thing happened in Korean football. We hope Korean football can also manage to solve their problem. The corruption is really damaging, is really criminal to the development of football.”

While Bin Hammam remains on the sidelines indefinitely, it is yet to be determined if Zhang will inherit the presidency on a full-time basis.

He could remain in the job for up to a year without facing a presidential vote.

“This is only temporary according to the statutes, to be in the office to carry on with what the AFC statutes already asked me to do,” Zhang said.

“What the executive committee entrusts me to do at this particular moment is work together closer with all the members of the executive committee and the administration.”

“So there is not any opportunity for you to think beyond the current situation.”