The PFA Executive met yesterday and noted with deep concern the decision of Football Federation Australia to support the re-election of Sheikh Salman Ibrahim Al-Khalifa as President of the Asian Football Confederation and, in turn, FIFA Senior Vice President.

Last week, the PFA wrote to FIFA seeking its disclosure of the review process implemented to determine the eligibility of all candidates for election.

The FIFA Governance Regulations require the FIFA Review Committee to undertake a full eligibility check of all candidates to determine their eligibility.

Before yesterday’s public statements from the ASEAN Football Federation and Football Federation Australia, the PFA had not received a response from FIFA regarding the eligibility of the candidates.

Further, despite the PFA being the largest institutional stakeholder within the reformed FFA Congress, the FFA Board did not consult with it before deciding to support the re-election of the AFC President.

“The PFA is on record challenging the right of the incumbent to continue in the role of AFC President, let alone serve another term,” PFA Chief Executive, John Didulica, said.

“The inability of the incumbent to protect and promote the human rights of one of the game’s players in line with his constitutional obligations demonstrates a breath-taking failure as the continent’s highest office holder and a repudiation and abrogation of the office of President.

“FFA’s support – without consulting with key members of the FFA Congress – is difficult to understand given the unity of purpose the Australian football family recently displayed to help secure the freedom of Hakeem Al-Araibi.

“We await FIFA and/or FFA to urgently provide the basis upon which the incumbent satisfied the eligibility criteria notwithstanding the fundamental concerns raised by the PFA over his ongoing tenure during the period of Hakeem’s detention.” 

The elections for the AFC President are to be conducted on 6 April 2019.