Singapore's FIFA Council hopes suffer a sizeable setback

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Tuesday's postponement of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) elections to choose representatives to the new FIFA Council is a blow for Singapore's Zainudin Nordin.

Zainudin, president of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), was one of three candidates at the AFC's Extraordinary Congress in Goa, India, fighting for two seats on FIFA's 37-member decision-making body that is replacing the scandal-hit Executive Committee.

The council is due to meet for the first time on October 13 and 14 in Zurich. After Tuesday's events, Asia will only be taking four of its seven allocated spots.

We don't want to be dictated to by FIFA as to who we can or can't elect, especially when there is a lack of information about what is claimed to have happened

- AFC Official

Current members are AFC president Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Khalifa, Kohzo Tashima of Japan, Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad of Kuwait and Malaysia's Prince Tengku Abdullah.

Ahead of Tuesday's postponed election, Zainudin was competing against Zhang Jian of China and Ali Kafashian of Iran for two available spots.

Not much more than 24 hours before the congress opened, Qatar Football Association (QFA) vice-president Saoud A. Aziz Al-Mohannadi's name was removed from the ballot. 

FIFA advised the AFC that the official was not eligible to stand for election. The FIFA Ethics Committee has charged the official with refusing to co-operate with an inquiry, though details have not been released.

Al-Mohannadi denies any wrongdoing and had previously been cleared by the AFC to stand for election.

“We don't want to be dictated to by FIFA as to who we can or can't elect, especially when there is a lack of information about what is claimed to have happened and nothing has been proved,” one AFC official told FourFourTwo on condition of anonymity.

“The best outcome going forward is that there is another congress and a real election that reflects the will of the AFC.”

Sources at the QFA say that Al-Mohannadi is ready to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in order to get his name on the ballot.

If successful, it is likely to spell bad news for Zainudin. Al-Mohannadi was strongly tipped to take one of the two seats on the FIFA Council along with China's Zhang.

With the third seat reserved for a female member of the AFC, and contested between Moya Dodd of Australia, North Korea's Han Un Gyong and Mahfuza Ahkter of Bangladesh, Singapore's hopes of joining Malaysia on football's most powerful decision-making body are looking slim.