Qatar and Saudi Arabia have won seats on the FIFA Council, the governing body of world football. Wednesday’s election win came during the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) annual meeting, which also confirmed that Saudi Arabia would host her 2027 Asian Cup. Qatar Football Federation President Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, who will host the next Asian Cup in January 2024, has been elected by AFC members to represent the Council on the Council until 2027.
Yasser Almisehal, president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, was also elected. Sheikh Hamad earned 40 votes from the 45 federations, while Almisehal got 35. The 37-member FIFA Council is chaired by Gianni Infantino, the governing body’s president who attended the election meeting in Bahrain. The election results confirmed Saudi Arabia and Qatar at the heart of Asian football politics, with the AFC presidency scheduled to be vacant in 2027.
Meanwhile, AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain was reelected by acclamation to a final four-year term in a job he has held since 2013. He is also formally number two to Infantino as the most senior of FIFA’s eight vice presidents. FIFA Council positions – which pay a $250,000 salary in Zurich – were also won by Kohzo Tashima of Japan and Mariano Araneta of the Philippines, who retained their seats, and newcomer Hamidin Bin Mohd Amin, the Malaysian football federation leader.
FIFA plans to allow more than 200 member associations to choose their hosts for next year’s 2030 World Cup. Currently, Spain and Portugal, including Ukraine, are planning their candidacy for the 2030 World Cup in Europe, and four South American countries, including Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Which first hosted the World Cup 100 years ago in 1930, is also planning to run.