Iran official withdraws from Asian election for FIFA Council

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Iranian official Ali Kafashian has dropped out of an election to join the FIFA Council, and officials from South Korea and Philippines have entered.

The Asian Football Confederation said on Thursday that four men are competing for three seats on the ruling council at a rescheduled election on May 8 in Bahrain. The contenders are Zhang Jian of China, Sheik Ahmad Al Sabah of Kuwait, Mariano Varaneta of Philippines and Chung Mong-gyu of South Korea.

The four contenders for one protected FIFA seat for Asian women are Moya Dodd of Australia, Mafuza Akhter of Bangladesh, Han Un Gyong of North Korea and Susan Shalabi of Palestine. All are members of the AFC executive committee.

All potential candidates must pass an eligibility and integrity check conducted by FIFA.

The original Asian election meeting in September in India was stopped after the FIFA ethics committee barred Saoud Al-Mohannadi of Qatar from running. Then, AFC vice president Kafashian was a candidate.

Sheik Ahmad, an influential IOC member, is seeking to retain his FIFA position despite Kuwait's suspension from world football and the Olympic movement since 2015 because of government interference.