The battle lines are drawn for control of the nation’s main soccer body, as the delegation from world soccer governing body FIFA arrived in Taipei yesterday to start its investigation into the electoral process for the Chinese Taipei Football Association’s (CTFA) leadership.
Arrangements have been made for a meeting today with the FIFA delegation, which includes officials from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Sports Administration Director-General Lin Te-fu (林德福) said.
As the head of the nation’s highest sports authority, Lin said it is important for him to act as the host for the delegation and to hold discussions on CTFA’s executive committee elections, as developing soccer in the nation to catch up with other Asian countries is an important objective for this administration.
FIFA last month had sent letters to the CTFA, informing it of the visit from yesterday to tomorrow by the joint FIFA-AFC delegation to Taiwan relating to issues in the electoral process for CTFA’s executive committee, after receiving reports by different CTFA representatives concerning the eligibility of Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) to head the association, and other problems with the electoral process.
FIFA said in a March 29 letter that it would be represented by Sanjeevan Balasingam, FIFA director of member associations for Asia and Oceania, and Luca Nicola, head of the Member Associations Governance Services, joined by AFC officials.
Lin told reporters yesterday that he welcomes the visit and it is his job to explain the situation regarding the CTFA and about changes to Taiwan’s sports bodies and membership eligibility requirements following the passage of amendments to the National Sports Act (國民體育法) in September last year.
Lin said that he already knew one of the visiting FIFA officials, who was made aware of the situation during his visit to Taiwan last year to help formulate new provisions and new membership requirements for CTFA’s new charter to conform with the changes in the National Sports Act.
According to soccer officials and lawmakers, the delegation has scheduled separate meetings today with the two main groups competing for top positions in the CTFA, having sent complaint reports to FIFA on alleged irregularities and wrongful disqualification of certain candidates for the executive election.
The CTFA election was originally set to take place last month, but FIFA has requested a halt to all electoral proceedings until it has investigated and assessed the situation.
One of the groups is headed by CTFA chairman Lin Yung-cheng (林湧成) and includes Changhua County sports official Chang Chih-tung (張志東), Hang Yuen head coach Chiu Yi-wen (邱奕文) and other soccer officials.
The other group is headed by Chiou, a former CTFA chairman, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) stalwart and president of the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association.
He is backed by CTFA vice chairman Kung Yuan-kao (龔元高), Kaohsiung Football Association chairwoman and DPP Legislator Liu Shyh-fang (劉世芳), and other officials.
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