SINGAPORE (AFP) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has demanded all sides play by the book in an increasingly bitter battle for power inside the Asian Football Confederation.
The head of the sport's world governing body made the comments as relations between AFC president Mohamed bin Hammam and his chief rival, Bahrain's Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, plummet.
Shaikh Salman, Bahrain's Crown Prince, is challenging Bin Hammam for his seat on FIFA's executive committee, with the winner decided at the AFC Congress in Kuala Lumpur on May 8.
Qatar's Bin Hammam, accused by his opponents of being a dictator, says he will step down as AFC chief if he loses the FIFA seat, despite his term not expiring until 2011.
The battle, which both sides claim to be winning, has become increasingly political among the powerful factions within the AFC's 46 member nations, with Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia all opposed to Bin Hammam.
On Wednesday, South Korea's football association filed a complaint with FIFA's ethics committee against the Qatari, accusing him of "groundless, bitter accusations."
The row stems from remarks Bin Hammam made in a television interview in February, in which he blasted Korea Football Association chief Cho Jung-Yeon, saying he was ready to "cut Cho's head off."
Meanwhile, the ethics committee is reportedly probing claims by Bin Hammam that the Olympic Council of Asia, via its national Olympic committees, was trying to pressure national football associations to vote for Sheikh Salman.
Blatter, a long-time supporter of Bin Hammam, said all sides needed to start showing more respect and discipline.
"Football is a universal sport based on the fundamental principles of discipline and respect for opponents and the laws of the game... underpinned by the values of fair play and ethics," he said in a statement.
"These principles and values must be applied not only on the field of play, but also in the administration and governance of football, particularly in the area of sports politics.
"And, of course, this includes elections to the governing bodies of football.
"As president of FIFA, it is my duty to remind all members of the Asian football community of the importance of these values in the run-up to the election scheduled for May 8 for the vacant Asian seat on the FIFA executive committee."
Several key proposals made by Bin Hammam have proved to be controversial, and helped spark the move to oust him.
These include his plan to move the AFC headquarters out of Malaysia, a proposed 12-year marketing deal with World Sport Group and amendments to the AFC statutes that would consolidate his power.
Despite the move to unseat him, Bin Hammam believes he has the numbers to remain at AFC House, claiming this month that he has the support of 33 of the 46 members nations so far, with a two-thirds majority required.
Asia has four seats on the FIFA executive committee -- South Korea's Chung Mong-Joon as vice-president, Japan's Junji Ogura from East Asia, Thailand's Worawi Makudi from Southeast Asia, and Bin Hammam.
Bin Hammam's is the only position up for election.
|Buffon bids farewell to Pirlo|
|Sterling named Europe´s ´most valuable´ young player|
|Casillas´ agent reveals Porto offer|
|Southampton bring in Martina|
|Dundee United accept Celtic´s Ciftci bid|
|McArthur pens new Palace deal|
|Bartomeu rules out Barca move for Pogba this year|
|Spurs have to be better now - Bentaleb|
|Milner expects central role|
|Micronesia thrashed again, this time 46-0|
|Marchisio: I cannot be Pirlo´s heir|
|Inter aiming for Champions League return - Icardi|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Brondby and Slovan to protect handsome leads|
|Bentaleb pens new long-term deal at Tottenham|
|Barca agree Turan deal|
|FIFA bans Mayne-Nicholls|
|United States v Honduras: Klinsmann demands improvement ahead of Gold Cup opener|
|CONCACAF institutes extensive reforms in wake of FIFA corruption scandal|
|Mauri completes Milan move|
|City sign Turkey striker|
|Women´s World Cup final draws huge US TV ratings|
|My first Chelsea team better than current crop - Drogba|
|Bertrand set for lay-off after knee surgery|
|New five-year Juve deal for Marchisio|
|Allegri extends Juve contract|
|Koeman reiterates Alderweireld interest|
|Valencia bag Bakkali|
|New York City FC complete Pirlo capture|
|Panama v Haiti: Collat ready to challenge the best of CONCACAF|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Harrison eyes TNS progression|
|FIFA sanctions Yemen for fielding ineligible player|
|Toulouse rubbish Ben Yedder exit reports|
|Mourinho ´knows what he´s doing´ with Falcao signing|
|Watford shell out club-record fee for Capoue|
|Braafheid signs Lazio extension|
|Nani finalises Fenerbahce move|
|Liverpool confirm O´Driscoll appointment|
|Liverpool have to start better - Lucas|
|USA simply too good - Sasaki|
|Portland Timbers 1 San Jose Earthquakes 0: Jewsbury wins it in stoppage time|
|No move yet for Van Persie|
|Lloyd wins Golden Ball, Silver Boot awards|
|Mascherano: I never grabbed Banega|
|Dunga requested Brazil not appeal Neymar´s suspension|
|United States 5 Japan 2: Lloyd stars with hat-trick|
|Fiorentina deny Inter criticism|
|Nani relishing Fenerbahce opportunity|
|Newcastle hold talks over Northampton youngster|
|Cuadrado´s agent plays down Chelsea exit rumours|
|Liverpool´s Alberto set for Deportivo loan|
|Leverkusen suffer surprise defeat, Stuttgart hit six|
|Inter ´dismayed´ at Fiorentina vice-president´s Salah Twitter outburst|
|Blaszczykowski ruled out of Dortmund´s Asia tour|
|Gerrard gets the beers in for LA Galaxy fans|
|De Gea coy over Real links|
|Former Brazil star Carlos handed Delhi reins|
|Ciftci will not push through Celtic switch – agent|
|In-demand Mitrovic considering Roma offer|
|Lehmann calls on Cech to ´get over´ Chelsea|
|Marlos double sinks Monaco|
|Mauritius 0 South Africa 2 (agg 0-5): Bafana set up Angola qualifier|
|Keane relishing Gerrard arrival|
|Palace confirm Cabaye interest|
|Hamburg bring in Spahic after head-butt ban|
|Blatter hits out at France and Germany over World Cup votes|
|Sanchez: World Cup exit spurred Chile to Copa glory|
|Jojic makes Cologne switch, Santana move falls through|
|Carrillo keen to get going at Monaco|
|Micronesia thrashed 38-0 as Fiji triumph in Olympic qualifier|
|Schalke stunned by ´machine´ Caicara|
|MLS Review: Keane shines at Gerrard´s Galaxy unveiling|
|Counter-attacking the key for Japan|
|Jimenez happy at Atletico|
|Gerrard predicts ´successful future´ with Galaxy|
|Iniesta can´t see Real selling Ramos|
|Keshi sacked as Nigeria coach|
|Three finals, three defeats for Messi, Mascherano|
|Nani close to Fenerbahce move|
|Sampaoli revels in ´unbelievable joy´|
|Bravo: Copa victory a dream|
|Martino: Argentina should have won|
|Chile 0 Argentina 0 (4-1 on penalties): Hosts end trophy drought|
|Germany 0 England 1 (after extra time): England make World Cup history|