Fifa VP absent from AFC Awards in apparent protest over India's exclusion from ACL play-off

Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein was nowhere to be seen for the ceremony and has stated his disappointment at the AFC's decision to limit the number of countries allowed in the ACL

FIFA vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein was absent from Thursday's AFC Awards ceremony in an apparent expression of unhappiness with the AFC recent ruling regarding places allocated to teams in Asia for the Asian Champions League 2013.

Various countries such as Singapore and India missed out on the prestigious tournament after the AFC vetoed a proposal to allow these countries to participate in the competition by virtue of play-off matches.

After the ruling was made, Prince Ali expressed his unhappiness with the decision.

"I would like to express my deepest disappointment at the decision of the Executive Committee today regarding Asian Champions League participation," Prince Ali told The World Game. "I have long argued for a more open and inclusive Asian Champions League in order to give a fair chance to all teams to play on sporting merit.

"Unfortunately, the proposal supported by clubs, leagues and MA ad hoc committees which gives a chance to the following countries: Vietnam, Singapore, India and Jordan to participate through a play-off match was overruled first by the competitions committee in yesterday's meeting and today by the Executive Committee."

Prince Ali’s unhappiness stems from the fact that developing football countries would be unable to progress further without the chance to participate in such tournaments.

"These bodies missed an opportunity to be more inclusive and make the Champions League a truly Asian one that reflects the potential of the continent and that promotes the development of club football.

"If resistance to inclusion and growth remains, then there is nothing to be blamed but politics of members protecting their own interests. I look forward to a football driven debate on the matter. Let us work together to give a fair chance to all."

Only teams from Japan, Korea Republic, China, Uzbekistan, Australia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and the UAE are participating in the ACL 2013.

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