While Asian football remains in flux, opportunity knocks for the Premier League

5 April 2019

China Pl football
Photo: Getty Images Liverpool FC fans during a Premier League Asia Trophy match Hong Kong in 2017. Five Premier League teams and a third of Championship clubs now also have Asian ownership.

Sheikh Salman to be re-elected unopposed as AFC president.

Criticism over track record and commercial underperformance.

European leagues capitalise on Asia’s domestic failures and thirst for football.

James Corbett corbett@offthepitch.com

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will this weekend confirm Sheikh Salman as its unopposed presidential candidate, with the Bahraini set to extend his control over world football’s most populous continent to at least a decade.

But the apparent consensus behind Salman’s re-election belies a stagnation that grips Asian football and undermines its commercial development.

A failure to address poorly performing TV rights deals, off the pitch scandal and match-fixing corruption in Salman’s home continent has seen fans continue to flock to the English game.

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