TOKYO - The Asian Football Confederation
(AFC) must hold presidential elections after former chief
Mohamed Bin Hammam was banned for life by FIFA, Japan's football chief said on Tuesday.
Japan Football Association (JFA) president Junji Ogura
believes an immediate vote is essential after Bin Hammam was
provisionally suspended by the AFC.
"[Bin Hammam] has been banned for life so there is a need
for elections to be held," Ogura told local media on Tuesday.
The election would also include a seat on FIFA's Executive Committee, occupied by Bin Hammam since 1996 before the Qatari
was banned over a bribery allegations.
Bin Hammam has protested his innocence and vowed to fight to
clear his name.
China's Zhang Jilong has been the caretaker AFC president
since the scandal broke and has promised to tackle corruption in
a clear sign he wants the job full-time.
The AFC is scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss the
Japan lost their seat on FIFA's Executive Committee in
January when Kozo Tashima lost out in a ballot but he could be a
candidate for AFC presidency and another crack at a seat at
FIFA's top table.
Ogura told Japanese media Bin Hammam had written to him
calling for his understanding and patience.
"He said he doesn't think he has done anything wrong and
that he has no intention of quitting as either AFC President or
FIFA executive," said Ogura.
The 62-year-old Bin Hammam, AFC chief since 2002, was found
guilty last Saturday of attempting to buy votes in the run-up to
last month's FIFA presidential election.
His guilty verdict could have ramifications for Qatar's
successful bid for the 2022 World Cup.
The tiny Gulf emirate won the right to 2022 last December
but have been forced to deny allegations of corruption connected
with their shock win.
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