One-Year Turnaround Or Resignation, Vows Asian Football Presidential Hopeful

(ATR) Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi launches his campaign at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

(ATR) Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi says it should take no more than a yearto raise more than a quarter-billion dollars and breathe life into a sclerotic organization.

Al Romaithi formally launched his candidacy for president of the Asian Football Confederation on March 7, unveiling an audacious campaign manifesto that includes $320 million in new sponsorship revenue and $94 million a year in funding for member federations.

The sponsorship money, Al Romaithi said, "is guaranteed after I win." The election is scheduled for April 6 in the organization’s headquarter city of Kuala Lumpur.

Such is the confidence of Al Romaithi he declared: "If I don’t deliver from six months to a year I will ask for an Extraordinary Congress and step down." Earlier in his announcement Al Romaithi decried: "football in Asia is failing--we are the weakest link in football around the world."

The incumbent AFC President, Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain, is accused of cronyism and allowing national teams to languish in Asia since he became Asia’s football boss in 2013. Al Romaithi said as an example that some of the smaller member AFC nations don’t play five matches a year. Saoud Al-Mohannadi of Qatar is the third candidate in the race.

FIFA is currently exploring the potential of a 48-team World Cup, an idea for which Al Romaithi offered his "unequivocal" support with eight qualifying teams from Asia.

Some of Al Romaithi’s other pledges included 25 percent of AFC support for national federations being guaranteed for women’s football, the introduction of new regional and continental competitions for all age levels, and an independent Office of Budgetary Responsibility.

Al Romaithi. the current sports minister for UAE, has served as chief of police for Abu Dhabi and has a 20-year sports administration career that includes stints as the head of the United Arab Emirates Football Association and the Al Ain football club.

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