Kuala Lumpur: Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa was re-elected unopposed as president of the Asian Football Confederation on Saturday after the regional body’s congress confirmed a new four-year term for the Bahraini by acclamation.
The 53-year-old, who was not present at the meeting due to the death of his mother earlier in the week, was handed a third term at the helm after his rivals, UAE’s Mohammad Al Rumaithi and Qatar’s Saoud Al Mohannadi withdrew.
Shaikh Salman will extend his reign as president until at least 2023, by which time he will have completed a 10-year spell in charge of the 47-member body after initially completing the truncated term of former president Mohammad Bin Hammam.
He took over for the last two years of Bin Hammam’s stint as AFC president after the Qatari was banned for life by governing body FIFA from all football activities for his involvement in a corruption scandal.
A member of the Bahrain royal family, Shaikh Salman first came to prominence in footballing circles in 2009 when he faced off against Bin Hammam for a seat on Fifa’s decision making body, a ballot he lost by a single vote.
However, he won the presidential election in 2013 and was returned unopposed in 2015 before running unsuccessfully against Gianni Infantino for the position of Fifa president later that same year.
Initially elected on a platform of accountability, he has becoming increasingly distant during his presidency, rarely taking questions from the media since winning his second term of office.