Australia welcomes Asian vote result

SYDNEY - Australia have urged Asian football's bitter rivals to end their feud and start working together to improve the sport in the region.

Australia welcomed the re-election of Asian football chief Mohammad Bin Hammam as FIFA Executive Board member for West Asia on Friday in a ballot that had become a vote of confidence in his leadership.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president beat off the challenge of Bahrain's Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa in a close battle in Kuala Lumpur that followed months of bitter public rows.

"We welcome Mr Bin Hammam's election," Football Federation of Australia (FFA) chairman Frank Lowy said in a statement.

"It is important now that everyone in Asian football focuses on working together towards our shared goal, which is to improve the professionalism and standing of football throughout the Asian region."

Qatari Bin Hammam has been a staunch supporter of Australia for years and was instrumental in helping the country ditch the Oceania Football Confederation to join the AFC in 2006.

Bin Hammam's re-election to the FIFA seat for another four years on Friday coincided with the appointment of Australia's Moya Dodd to the AFC Executive.

"In only our fourth year as a member of AFC, it is wonderful to have an Australian on the executive of the AFC and Moya is a great representative for us," Lowy said.

"Moya is also the first woman to serve on the AFC Executive and one of only a handful of women to serve in such a senior capacity in world football."