Malaysian newspaper slams AFC's Velappan

An AFP article published by Malaysia's Malay Mail contains caustic criticism of Asian Football Confederation secretary general Peter Velappan (pictured right), labelling the football management veteran as "Pistol Pete" for his "habit of firing from the hip during his 27-year reign, to the delight of journalists but not always the powers that be".

Recalling the 2004 Asian Cup finals in Beijing where Velappan "was forced to apologise for blasting Chinese fans and questioning whether Beijing should host the 2008 Olympics", the article then described the secretary general's comments at the opening ceremony of the recent FIFA Futuro 111 program as appearing "to fly in the face of [AFC president] Hammam’s edict that only he can speak publicly".

The article claimed that Velappan "was not available to comment on the furore" and then floated the suggestion that "relations between Hammam and Velappan have soured. It quoted an AFC spokeswoman insisting "there is no rift" but added "she declined to comment further".

The article concluded that Velappan's time appears to be drawing to a close, with another Malaysian, Paul Mony, drafted in last year as his deputy.

"Even his own association, the FA of Malaysia, seems to have lost faith. 'I hope anyone who takes over the secretary-general’s post of AFC in the future learns from the past mistakes and is more mature when making any statement to the public,' said deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah. Sources close to the AFC suggest the aging icon will retire after next year’s Asian Cup finals."

See also: AFC: Vellapan's ASEAN comments "not official" (19 Feb) and ASEAN football officials reject Velappan's criticism (18 Feb) and Program promotes 'business of football' in ASEAN (14 Feb)