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.
|Guardiola addresses Mourinho´s tactical foul claims|
|Call the doctor! Conte protests no malice in David Luiz absence|
|Sheffield Wednesday 0 Wolves 1: Brilliant Neves fires leaders seven clear|
|Premier League title City´s to lose, but Sterling wary of United charge|
|Barcelona´s Deulofeu a Clasico doubt after training injury|
|Salah ´is a player I rate a lot´, says Zidane|
|Allardyce lauds ´invaluable´ Rooney|
|Ramos fit for Club World Cup final|
|Lille sack Bielsa to end failed experiment|
|Manchester United job like Real Madrid, says Mourinho|
|Fernandinho is much better than I was, Guardiola claims|
|That Harry Kane team? – I´m over Guardiola dig, says Pochettino|
|Mourinho open to January moves as Griezmann rumours swirl|
|Berizzo set for Sevilla return after cancer surgery|
|Manchester City will not go unbeaten in Premier League - Guardiola|
|Man City are the best – Pochettino braced for Spurs´ toughest test|
|Conte hopeful over David Luiz´s ´serious´ knee injury|
|Neymar not an injury risk after Brazil trip - Emery|
|Bailly to miss three months due to ankle surgery|
|Klopp defends Liverpool rotation policy|
|Arsenal fan Prince Harry´s wedding day to clash with FA Cup final|
|He´s one of the best – Simeone showers Oblak with praise|
|Juventus won´t sell in-demand Pjaca, agent claims|
|Bolasie in line for Everton return after long-term injury|
|Maradona told Real Madrid to sign Mbappe|
|Sydney FC 3 Melbourne City 1: Champions come from behind to go eight points clear|
|Red-hot Salah wins Player of the Month|
|Heynckes unaware of reported Sanches loan termination|
|Maradona: I´d have won more Ballons d´Or than Ronaldo and Messi|
|Wenger confirms Wilshere contract talks imminent|
|We´ve never been approached by Man United – Wenger rejects Ozil reports|
|Lewandowski demands focus ahead of Christmas|
|Klopp right to rotate at Liverpool – Neville|
|Donnarumma plays down Milan exit rumours|
|Barkley could leave in January – Allardyce|
|Pulisic voted youngest-ever male USA player of the year|
|Griezmann will be allowed to leave – Simeone|
|Guardiola appears to aim another dig at Mourinho|
|Vardy relishing Fleetwood return|
|Almiron blocked from becoming Las Palmas coach|
|Ligue 1 adopts VAR from next season|
|Calabria extends AC Milan contract|
|Everton give new deals to Calvert-Lewin, Holgate & Kenny|
|Under-fire Hughes promises results will come for Stoke|
|Mourinho asked to explain pre-Manchester derby comments|
|Stoger sets Dortmund end of year target|
|Dyche: No swaggering from high-flying Burnley|
|Watzke plays down Nagelsmann rumour as Dortmund plan for 2018|
|Guardiola´s record runs with Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona compared|
|Benteke goal drought a concern for Hodgson|
|City look frightening – Rose|
|Kahn regrets rejecting Manchester United|
|Bayern wrapping up Ribery for Christmas|
|Wilshere no closer to signing fresh Arsenal contract|
|Resurgent Rooney has Europe´s best shot-conversion record|
|Pastore bullish over PSG chances against Madrid|
|Independiente boss overjoyed by ´dream´ Copa Sudamericana success|
|Silva is an animal - Guardiola|
|Wenger not blaming Sanchez for Arsenal´s goal woes|
|Mourinho can´t find room for misfiring Mkhitaryan|
|Guardiola tells fans Man City won´t stop after record-breaking win|
|Mirabelli: Donnarumma has to beg Milan if he wants to leave|
|Bayern lacked verve, says Heynckes|
|Di Maria wants more game time at PSG after goalscoring display|
|Gattuso: Donnarumma shaken by abuse from AC Milan fans|
|Pellegrino calls for Southampton reaction|
|Benitez ´needs to know´ extent of Newcastle´s transfer budget|
|Zidane will not request striker signing despite Benzema blanks|
|Bournemouth excellent in Old Trafford loss – Howe|
|Wilshere´s performance ´very positive´, says Wenger|
|Pochettino challenges Spurs to keep top-four berth|
|I´d be in Brazil if the title race was over – Mourinho|