KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - The 46-member Asian Football Confederation (AFC) agreed at its congress to dump a controversial proposal to shift its headquarters from Malaysia.
AFC chief Mohamed bin Hammam, who is facing a campaign to unseat him from FIFA's executive committee, proposed removing an agenda item that was to have discussed shifting the sporting body's headquarters.
"Will you accept it?" he asked the assembly, which signalled its agreement with loud applause. "Thank you very much," Bin Hammam responded.
He said he had met with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday to discuss the issue.
The decision lays to rest one of the controversies that has split the AFC, which is embroiled in a power struggle between Bin Hammam and Bahrain Football Association chairman Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.
The Bahraini is seeking to wrest a FIFA executive committee seat from Bin Hammam in a vote to take place later Friday. Bin Hammam has said he will stand down as AFC chief if he loses the FIFA seat.
As well as criticism over his proposal to shift the AFC headquarters, Bin Hammam's detractors have accused him of being "dictatorial" and opposed a plan to sign a 12-year marketing deal with World Sport Group.
Kuwait Football Association president Sheikh Ahmad Al Sabah welcomed the decision, which will see the AFC remaining at its purpose-built headquarters on Kuala Lumpur's southern fringes.
"I am very proud the headquarters will be in Malaysia. This was one of the reasons why Asia was divided," he told the congress.
"Thanks for keeping the headquarters in Malaysia. Asia will always be united for athletes, and football especially," he said.
Malaysia has hosted the AFC since 1965 and its first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman served as the organisation's president for 24 years.
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