By Andrew Warshaw
March 31 – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has rehired its former general secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay (pictured) as a consultant less than a year after he quit over claims, still to be proven, that he was involved in a cover-up during an investigation into corruption allegations dating back to the era of Mohammed bin Hammam.
Soosay has been taken on for specific AFC projects, particularly within Malaysia and including an extension of the AFC’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. There has at various times in the past 10 years been talk of moving the centre of AFC operations to a different country but that is now unlikely.
In a statement, the AFC said: “Asian football is benefiting tremendously from Dato’ Alex Soosay’s unrivalled expertise and experience of the world game in his role as a consultant to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
“He has the ability to contribute significantly on specific projects in which he has detailed knowledge such as the extension of the AFC building and the AFC Asian Cup.
“Dato’ Alex has the full support of the AFC President, General Secretary and management in this role which will assist the future development of the AFC as it strives to become the world’s leading football confederation.”
The resignation of Asia’s number two official last June plunged the confederation into fresh uncertainty just when it was attempting to banish the dark days of its corruption-tainted past.
Malaysian media had reported that Soosay asked for any incriminatory evidence against him during an external 2012 probe carried out by PricewaterhouseCooper into the conduct of bin Hammam, his one-time boss, be removed.
The audit was prompted by claims of malpractise by bin Hammam which ultimately led to the then AFC chief being banned for life by FIFA for financial mismanagement and breaches of its ethics code.
Soosay, who had held the position of AFC general secretary since 2008, was suspended pending an internal AFC investigation and his eventual resignation. In the tersest of statements the AFC thanked Soosay at the time “for his commitment to Asian football during his extensive 20-year-long career at the AFC and wishes him all the best for his future career.”
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