SAFF members leave west Asia forum before AFC Congress

NEW DELHI: India and six other members of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) have pulled out of a Saudi Arabia-led new football bloc with immediate effect, the Indian FA said on Tuesday.

Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Sr Lanka and Pakistan are the other SAFF nations to have left South West Asian Football Federation (SWAFF) on the eve of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) congress in Kuala Lumpur.

"The withdrawal precedes the expected official recognition of AFC's five Regional Federations by the AFC Congress on Wednesday..." the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said in a statement.

AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa is expected to seek support at the Congress for his reelection in April when he is likely to face challenge from SWAFF head Adel Ezzat of Saudi Arabia.