Bin Hammam keen to remain Asia chief

KUALA LUMPUR - Mohamad Bin Hammam has confirmed he wants to stay on as president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) after next year and will not challenge Sepp Blatter for the leadership of FIFA.

The 61-year-old Qatari had suggested earlier this year that the time had come for world governing body FIFA to appoint an Asian president.

"Let me be very clear, I will not run for the next FIFA election. I will be backing Sepp Blatter to remain in office for a new mandate," Bin Hammam told AFC website.

"My aim is to run for the next election of AFC president due at the start of 2011. Hopefully I will get the full confidence of all the national associations."

Bin Hammam has overseen football in Asia since 2002 and had been seen as one of the few figures in world football who could take on Swiss Blatter, who will seek a fourth term as FIFA president next year.

Widely regarded as a succesful reformer who has revived Asian football, Bin Hammam's critics - mainly from East Asia and neighbouring Gulf Arab states - accuse him of being dictatorial.

Last year, he survived a challenge to the place on the FIFA executive board he has held since 1996.

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