Blatter calls for fair play in Asian polls

BANGKOK - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has urged fair play in campaigning and voting ahead of next month's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Congress amid a power struggle in the Asian game.

With AFC chief Mohamed Bin Hammam taking on Bahraini Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa - his first-ever electoral challenge - for his FIFA executive committee seat, Blatter called for both candidates to follow the rules.

In a statement, he said soccer was based on "fundamental principles of discipline and respect for opponents and the laws of the game" and urged candidates to "follow values of fair play and ethics".

Both candidates have attacked each other via the media, with al-Khalifa accusing Bin Hammam of mismanaging Asian soccer and the AFC president claiming his opponent is a stooge for well-heeled rivals keen to oust him.