Exclusive: Platini calls for Asia to end in-fighting

michel platiniBy John Duerden in Kuala Lumpur
May 1 - UEFA President Michel Platini has called for Asia to put an end to its in-fighting and move forward starting with Thursday's vote to elect a new president of the Asian Football Confederation.

Platini told Inside World Football that the chaos that has plagued Asian football since Mohamed Bin Hammamm was banned for life had caused complications but that it was now time in to put an end to all the factions.

"The situation is complicated," said the Frenchman. "You have lots of rumours about problems and there is a former president with problems, it makes it complicated. It's time to clean and move forward. It is up to the new president to unite Asia and UEFA is ready to help them"

In less than 24 hours, the AFC will have its first permanent president for two years as Yousuf Al Serkal of United Arab Emirates,Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain and Thailand's Worawi Makudi contest the election.

"We have a memordam of understanding with the AFC and we have programmes together and we are waiting for the election of the new president so we can implement them," said Platini

He stressed that nothing should be read into his apparent change of heart about attending the AFC Congress at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

"It is usual for the president of one confederation to visit the congress of another. I was here four years ago."

Platini did not express a personal preference as to who he wants to see emerge victorious, saying that it was up the national associations to choose the best man for the job though he did remark that there was much more lobbying at the AFC Congress than is usual at UEFA.

He also reitereated his stance on the 2022 World Cup, due to be hosted in Qatar, to be moved to winter despite the fact he voted for the Gulf State's summer bid. "I said at the time that I will vote for Qatar for the 2022 World Cup but that I will try to change to winter. I was very clear."

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