KUALA LUMPUR, (Reuters) – The AFC went into lockdown yesterday in the wake of their president Mohamed Bin Hammam being banned for life by FIFA, with security refusing to allow Reuters entry to their headquarters ahead of an executive committee meeting.
As the rain drizzled down on a grey day in the Malaysian capital, two security officials blocked Reuters from entering at the gates of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) House without explanation.
FIFA Vice-president Prince Ali of Jordan was then seen being driven into AFC House by a police escort ahead of the meetings that were scheduled to be chaired by temporary president Zhang Jilong of China.
Two AFC officials came to the gates to explain to Reuters that entry was being refused on security grounds despite attendance being previously encouraged at past AFC executive committee meetings.
The organisation’s reclusive behaviour only adds to the mystery surrounding their next move following Bin Hammam’s ban for bribing Caribbean officials during his withdrawn FIFA presidential challenge to incumbent Sepp Blatter.
Bin Hammam has written to the AFC executive committee saying he would not resign his position as he appeals the decision and has asked for support from AFC members.
But Japan Football Association president Junji Ogura told his local media in the week that the AFC should press on and elect a new leader. Qatari Bin Hammam, who was reelected unopposed for a third and final four-year term as the head of Asian soccer in January, has said he expects his appeal process to drag on for months and plans to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).