Asia football in lockdown as media turned away from HQ

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adds to the  mystery surrounding their next move following Bin Hammam’s ban  for bribing Caribbean officials during his withdrawn FIFA  presidential challenge to incumbent Sepp Blatter.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).

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