Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President, today paid tribute to Dato’ Peter Velappan, the former AFC General Secretary, who passed away at the age of 83.
Shaikh Salman said: “On behalf of the entire Asian football family, I send my condolences and heartfelt sympathy to the family of one of the most important architects of growing the game in Asia.
“Peter served Asian football with passion and professionalism and the news of his passing will shock and sadden all those who are involved in our great game on this continent. He deserves immense credit for everything that he achieved with the AFC and beyond.”
AFC General Secretary, Dato Windsor John, added: “Dato’ Peter’s vision for Asian football has been an inspiration to us all and his achievements both here at the AFC and at the Football Association of Malaysia stand as a monument to his love of the game.
“Dato’ Peter set the standards to which everyone in Asian football aspires. He was dedicated to grassroots football and the development of the game in Asia. It has been an honour to follow in his footsteps.”
Born in 1935, he studied in the United Kingdom and Canada before becoming a teacher in Seremban and subsequently became Assistant General Secretary of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) in 1963.
He served as FAM Assistant General Secretary until 1980 as well as being Assistant Team Manager to the national team when it qualified for the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972.
In 1978, Dato’ Peter became the AFC General Secretary during a time of rapid expansion and development for the Confederation and for football on the Continent, which hosted its first FIFA World Cup – in Japan/Korea in 2002 – during his time in office. He was Co-ordination Director for the Organising Committee and received FIFA’s distinguished service award for his 30 years of valuable contribution to the beautiful game in 2002.
As the longest serving General Secretary in AFC history, he served under three AFC Presidents – Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah (1978-1994) and Sultan Ahmad Shah (1994-2002) both from Malaysia and Qatari Mohamad bin Hamman. Dato’ Peter retired in 2007 but remained a strong advocate for grassroots football and a firm supporter of present AFC President Shaikh Salman.
His commitment to grassroots football led to a role at Vision Asia which was devoted to popularising the sport at grassroots across Asia.
(Asian Football Confederation)