Dark days for Asian football or a revolution ahead?

"As suspended Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam departs Zurich fighting bribery allegations, soccer in his continent of Asia struggles to combat match-fixing, violence and money issues that threaten to tarnish the Qatari's belief that the future is Asia," a Reuters report has concluded.

It reviewed Asia's current problems including:
  • Match-fixing uncovered in South Korea with police arresting five K-League players in connection with the scandal.
  • Match-fixing alleged in Malaysia following a police report filed by a top team concerned that there was some wrong-doing in one of their youth matches.
  • Violence in Singapore, with S.League sides Etoile FC and Houngang United suspended after the two teams brawled before kick-off with four players requiring hospital treatment.
  • A-League clubs failing in Australia.
  • Ongoing splits in Football Associations of Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines.
 "I think the Asian football environment is not that healthy," acting AFC president Zhang Jilong said in an interview in English on China's state TV, as quoted by Reuters. "We need, let's say, a revolution, we need reform to make more clear and more fair play environment in Asian football areas."

"The fundamental skills in Asia are not as strong as in Europe or South America so the basis is poor in Asia," Zhang said. "We need to unite together and work harder to get more attention from the rest of the world to the AFC."

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