December 19 – Football’s complicated and often fragile diplomacy in middle east is often a tightrope walk. AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa (pictured left) was back in the UAE this week to meet with the UAE FA Transitional committee, sworn in last weekend after an emergency meeting following the resignation of the Federation’s Board of Directors.
In January the UAE successfully hosted the first 24 team AFC Cup at a time of political tension with the blockade of Qatar at its most intense and the UAE having a candidate running against Salman for the AFC presidency.
Salman met with Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (and majority owner of Manchester City), as well as separately with Shaikh Rashid bin Hameed Al Nuaimi, president of UAE FA Transitional committee, members of the Committee and other sports leaders.
It was a gesture of support from Salman who expressed his belief that the Transitional Committee will serve the best interests of UAE football as new elections are prepared at the same time the national team is in .
Salman discussed possible cooperation between the AFC and UAE FA Transitional committee, and the AFC’s projects, saying that the UAE has a special position in Asian football and, stressing that AFC will support the Transitional Committee to achieve UAE’s football ambitions.
Rashid in turn welcomed the visit of the Salman and the intent to keep the lines of communication with Member Associations open.
It was a clear gesture of friendship and door opening for the UAE within the Asian football family after the more tense football politics of earlier in the year.
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