The Asian Football Confederation has responded to claims by Fifa presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon that he is guilty of “electoral fraud” in the race to succeed Sepp Blatter.
Chung has accused his own confederation of breaking both electoral and ethical rules by sending template letters to Asian members calling on them to publicly support Platini in next year’s election.
Chung has accused the AFC president, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, of underming the fairness of the poll and has called for an official inquiry.
The AFC insists, though, that it had broken no moral codes of conduct.
Confirming that Salman had “already expressed his personal preference for the candidacy of Michel Platini” rather than one of its own, the AFC nevertheless said all its FAs were “free to vote for the candidate of their choice” and added: “Any association who wishes to support a specific candidacy – or to announce their own candidate – is free to do so, whether by letter, via media conferences and statements, or through any other way that they so choose.”
The statement said that it is perfectly normal for confederations to provide guidance – but not to force the hand of individual members.
“One of AFC’s roles, like any Confederation, is to act as a collective voice for its associations within FIFA. Many AFC member associations have, unsurprisingly, contacted AFC to ask how they can express their support for a specific candidate.”
“A growing majority of AFC member associations have also expressed their support for Mr Platini’s candidacy, based on his credentials to lead world football, whilst others have expressed an interest for other candidates, have expressed no interest at all, or are waiting before making up their minds.”
So far FIFA has not responded to Chung’s claims and whether or not it will launch an investigation into the AFC’s conduct.