Asian soccer leader Salman challenged by Abu Dhabi candidate

The Associated Press
FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 file photo, FIFA presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa of Bahrain looks on during the extraordinary FIFA congress in Zurich, Switzerland. Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman of Bahrain will face at least one challenger for re-election, though not an expected opponent from Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates soccer federation says Mohamed Khalfan Al Romaithi announced his presidential run on the deadline on Thursday, Dec. 6 2018 to enter the April 6 vote. No candidate was announced by the Saudi Arabia Football Federation which had targeted the AFC presidency (AP Photo/Michael Probst, file)

Asian soccer leader Salman challenged by Abu Dhabi candidate

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 file photo, FIFA presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa of Bahrain looks on during the extraordinary FIFA congress in Zurich, Switzerland. Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman of Bahrain will face at least one challenger for re-election, though not an expected opponent from Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates soccer federation says Mohamed Khalfan Al Romaithi announced his presidential run on the deadline on Thursday, Dec. 6 2018 to enter the April 6 vote. No candidate was announced by the Saudi Arabia Football Federation which had targeted the AFC presidency (AP Photo/Michael Probst, file)

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman of Bahrain will face at least one challenger for re-election, though not an expected opponent from Saudi Arabia.

The United Arab Emirates soccer federation says Mohamed Khalfan Al Romaithi announced his presidential run for the April 6 vote by Thursday's deadline.

Al Romaithi is a member of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council board, and the AFC executive committee headed by Sheikh Salman since 2013.

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No candidate was announced by the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF), which had previously seemed to target the AFC presidency that comes with FIFA vice-president status.

In September, SAFF president Adel Ezzat resigned to prepare his AFC candidacy.

However, Sheikh Salman's position was strengthened in October when he won a key election nomination rules vote and rebuffed a Saudi-created regional group of federations.

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