Qatar’s Al Mohannadi to contest for FIFA Council


By Armstrong Vas 

The Peninsula

Doha: Qatar Football Association (QFA) Vice-President Saoud Al Mohannadi (pictured) is among the four candidates who will contest for the new seats on FIFA’s ruling council.

Candidates from China, Singapore and Iran are in the fray.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said seven candidates passed integrity checks by FIFA to stand for election by its member federations on September 27 in Goa, India.

Al Mohannadi is also the Vice- President of AFC, Chairman of AFC Competitions Committee and Chairman of AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Organising Committee for a four-year term which ends in 2019.

Al Mohannadi’s elevation to the AFC post was the first time a Qatari citizen was made the Chairman of AFC Competitions Committee.

He was elected Vice-President of the AFC during the elections conducted in April last year in Bahrain. 

Al Mohannadi, after his election as Vice-President of the AFC, had said he wants to put the region back on the path of glory with better co-operation and planning.

“We need to have more co-ordination and exchange of expertise,” he said. “For example, we’ve several things in Qatar, which can be presented to the rest of the region and continent.”

“So the question is why don’t you come and use them? It can happen through dialogue and systematic planning. Football is a common language and it can be done successfully,” Al Mohannadi had said.

Besides Al Mohannadi, three other men competing for two FIFA Council seats are: Zhang Jian of China, Ali Kafashian Naeni of Iran and Zainudin Nordin of Singapore.

Candidates for a women’s seat guaranteed to each of FIFA’s six confederations are: Moya Dodd of Australia; Mahfuza Ahkter of Bangladesh; and Han Un Gyong of North Korea.

Dodd has led the promotion of women’s football as a co-opted FIFA executive committee member since 2013.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino chairs a 37-member council meeting on October 13-14 in Zurich.

The elections are the first to send Asian delegates to FIFA’s ruling committee since Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group signed as a World Cup sponsor through 2030 in March.

The firm said at the time that becoming a top-tier sponsor and paying FIFA hundreds of millions of dollars, left it “better placed” to help decide which countries host future World Cups.

China would next be eligible to host at the 2030 tournament. 

Qatar is hosting the 2022 World Cup, Asian bidders are excluded from a 2026 race which is expected to include the US and Canada.

The 2030 decision should be in a vote of all FIFA’s member federations from a shortlist agreed by the ruling council — a rebranded version of the much-criticised executive committee which used to pick World Cup hosts.

Creating the council and giving World Cup hosting votes to all members are among FIFA reforms agreed in recent rounds of modernising changes provoked by bribery scandals and World Cup voting allegations. 

Another reform is a guaranteed council seat for a woman from each of the FIFA’s six continental confederations.