Infantino views ASL positively
Fifa boss supports idea, but calls on associations and clubs to reach an agreement
Fifa president Gianni Infantino has given his clearest endorsement of the proposed Asean Super League (ASL), which could kick off next year.
Here in Singapore for a Fifa summit, the 46-year-old Swiss-Italian said at the Four Seasons Hotel yesterday: "Whatever can be done to promote the development of football is generally to be viewed positively."
Zainudin Nordin, the former president of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) who is spearheading the ASL taskforce, told The New Paper last week that they are in the midst of securing 10 teams, or one per country from the Asean Football Federation, excluding Australia and Timor Leste.
An advertisement has also been placed on the Sports Recruitment International website for a full-time chief executive position for the ASL.
There have been concerns that the ASL will cannibalise existing domestic leagues and create a scheduling headache in what is already a crowded football calendar.
Infantino said: "Whether the right thing to do is a trans-national regional league of clubs or national teams or any other competition one can think of, this is something for the local football authorities to decide, for local associations together with the clubs to see what is the best way to promote football.
"When we see the popularity of the Suzuki Cup for example, we see there is certainly potential to do something more in the region to promote football, so any initiative has to be looked at favourably, but it has to come from an agreement of all the local associations to start with."
The Fifa supremo also saw no issues with the FAS taking longer than expected to agree on its constitution and upcoming election to bring it in line with Fifa's mandate of no third-party interference.
Brunei, Indonesia and Kuwait have all incurred bans in the past for third-party interference in their football affairs and a delay in conducting democratic elections, but Fifa had earlier told The New Paper in a statement that those cases "do not compare to the situation of the FAS".
Infantino quipped: "It took me some time to become president of Fifa."
He added: "Sometimes to do the right thing takes a bit of time, it's part of life as well.
"Now there is a new constitution in line with Fifa's requirements, the election will take place next year, so everything is well on track."