January 8, 2015 / 9:24 PM / 4 years ago

Asia must remain united behind Blatter: official

FIFA President Sepp Blatter adjusts his glasses as he addresses a news conference after a meeting of the FIFA executive committee in Zurich September 26, 2014. Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The Asian Football Confederation supports Sepp Blatter’s bid to secure a fifth consecutive term as FIFA president, according to AFC general secretary Alex Soosay.

Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein’s decision to run for world soccer’s top job has breathed new life into the presidential race but the 39-year-old faces an uphill task to convince members of Asia’s 47-nation bloc to abandon their backing for Blatter.

Malaysian Soosay said the AFC had unanimously pledged to support the Swiss incumbent at an extraordinary congress in Sao Paulo last year.

“I think that sentiment still remains today,” he told Australian state radio ABC.

“As Asia we should always stay together united. That’s important rather than being divided.”

Soosay’s comments come after Asia’s Olympic chief Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, a highly influential sports administrator whose support is seen as vital, told reporters in Jakarta this week it was “too soon” for Prince Ali to run.

The AFC’s top powerbrokers have gathered in Melbourne for an extraordinary congress later on Friday where they are expected to endorse constitutional amendments that will restructure the regional zones in the continent and shake up the appointment of vice presidents.

The congress is also likely to serve as an opportunity for Prince Ali to gain backing for his FIFA presidential bid which has heavy European support and is seen by analysts as posing a credible threat to Blatter.

Editing by Tony Jimenez

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