AFC's Zhang Jilong outlines his vision and responsibilities

In his first day as Acting President of the Asian Football Confederation, Mr Zhang Jilong spoke from the Kuala Lumpur headquarters to China's official news agency, Xinhua, about his vision and responsibilities:

"The Asian Football Club has come a long way, from having only 12 members when it was first established in 1954 to 46 members at present," he said. "There are shortcomings in standards of football in Asia. Many teams are lagging behind by other continents," he added, acknowledging that Asian teams failed to emerge as top players in the world despite South Korea and Japan's outstanding performance in the recent FIFA World Cup.

"The Chinese football is even stagnant and this, in my opinion, is due to the misconception among the sports authorities. China, for example, is unclear on how it could promote football among the youth, who are the bedrock in football development. Youth players should be made a priority and given appropriate training ...

"I despise the corruption within the football organizations. I also regret some of the high-ranking officials are involved in it.

"I think foul play exists in every development and the managements of football organizations should step up to bolster the reputation of their leaders," he said, adding that his philosophy has always been one of honesty, pragmatism and discipline.

Zhang is currently the Chairman of the Sports Committee for the Olympic Council of Asia and the director of the China International Sports Exchange Center.

"It could be a heavy burden for me taking on three different roles at the same time but they have a common target, to contribute to the sports' progress and I am ready to play my role and act on any mandate decided by the AFC committee," he said.

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