The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced that it will seek to elect a new president by the end of April as it attempts to bring an end to a period of limbo due to the Mohamed bin Hammam saga, reports SportBusiness. Following an AFC Executive Committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur the Confederation said a presidential election will be held at April's AFC Congress "subject to the recommendations and advice of the AFC Legal Committee" - a verdict which is expected by mid-January.
China's Zhang Jilong has held the AFC presidency on an interim basis since May 2011 and has previously stated his ambition to land the position on a full-time basis. However, he is likely to face a number of potential challengers.
During Thursday's meeting Zhang said: "Under my caretaker leadership, I promised a new vision for AFC. I committed myself to a new era of transparency and I am confident that with your support I will be able to deliver this objective."
Bin Hammam was elected to the AFC presidency in 2002 and was credited with revamping the Champions League competition and other achievements such as overseeing the introduction of Australia into the AFC fold. However, his spectacular fall from grace was triggered by his failed bid for the FIFA presidency last year.
The former AFC chief claims his punishments are politically motivated after he challenged Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency last year.