01 April 2010

AFC offers alternative to avoid Brunei isolation

THE Asian Football Confederation yesterday suggested that Brunei has alternatives if it wants to remain a part of the global football community.

Though the first option is nothing new, the second is a bolt from the blue since the International Federation of Association Football (Fifa) has always insisted that it is Bafa or nothing for them.

"The first option is that Bafa will continue to be the official member (and) it will nominate an interim body which Fifa will consider," AFC's Director of Communications & Media, Sean Tohidi, told the Brunei Times yesterday.

"Fifa will need to approve this interim body in consultation from AFC. The interim body will run the operation until the new board is elected.

"The second option is that a new organising body will need to officially apply to Fifa and AFC. Once it has been accepted as a "provisional member" it will have no voting rights for at least two years.

"Traditionally, the application is first accepted by Fifa and then considered by AFC but the application can be submitted simultaneously. "They (Brunei) have sent a letter to AFC announcing the formation of the new body. I am unsure if they have officially applied to become a member," added Tohidi.

Tohidi said that the second option was just as acceptable for Fifa and AFC, a move which must count as a major concession on their part. "What they (Fifa and AFC) want is what is best for football," said Tohidi. "That Brunei is represented ... Brunei in competitions," Tohidi said.

Though he wasn't aware of its existence, the "new body" that Tohidi was probably referring to was the Football Federation of Brunei Darussalam (FFBD). Having elected its members early last year, FFBD is recognised locally as the new controlling body for football in Brunei and has been organising national leagues at several age-groups, with the National Under-16 League coming to a close last Saturday and the DST Group Brunei FA Cup currently in its second round.

It might not be recognised by Fifa or AFC but that could be set to change. Article 3.9 of the AFC Statutes state that "Provisional" and "Associate" members shall be entitled to all the privileges of a Member Association except the right to vote at the Congress or the Extraordinary Congress and to hold office, meaning Brunei can be back in the international picture under FFBD.

Brunei Times

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