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Blatter calls for fair play in Asian poll

FOOTBALL'S top administrator has called for discipline and restraint after FIFA's ethics watchdog was asked to investigate accusations raised in an increasingly spiteful battle for an Asian seat on its most powerful committee.

Football's governing body said it had received complaints leveled against both sides of an election scheduled for May 8 for an Asian seat on the FIFA executive committee ?? the 24-man body which will decide host countries for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The two candidates are Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam, who has sat at FIFA's top table for 13 years, and Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Khalifa, the challenger who runs football in Bahrain.

"Football is a universal sport based on the fundamental principles of discipline and respect for opponents and the laws of the game as well as on the spirit of competitiveness and rivalry, underpinned by the values of fair play and ethics," FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Wednesday.

"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 ... this includes elections."

Blatter said it was his duty "to remind all members of the Asian football community of the importance of these values in the run-up to the election for the vacant Asian seat on the FIFA Executive Committee and of the requirement to respect FIFA's Statutes, principles and decisions."

The South Korean football association said on Wednesday it has formally referred Bin Hammam to FIFA's ethics committee over perceived threatening remarks against a top South Korean official.

FIFA also received a copy of a letter from Australian ethics panel member Les Murray, reportedly alleging that Shaikh Salman's supporters have tried to buy votes from Asian confederation members ahead of the May 8 vote. Murray wrote that some Asian associations have been offered cash grants to vote against Bin Hammam, the British Press Association reported.


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