KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 — The former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) secretary general Datuk Peter Velappan has passed away this morning.
AFC secretary general Datuk Windsor Paul John confirmed Velappan’s demise.
“Yes, we heard the news. Still working on the details from the family members,” he said when contacted by Bernama.
The former assistant secretary of Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), who turned 83 on October 1, is survived by wife Datin Pavalam and two daughters.
From Siliau, Negri Sembilan, the former teacher served as the AFC secretary general from 1978 to 2007 and played a crucial role in getting the rights for South Korea and Japan to host the 2002 World Cup, the first and only edition in Asia.
He was later appointed as the coordination director of the Organising Committee for the tournament.
Later through a statement from AFC, Windsor said Peter had set the standards to which everyone in Asian football aspired.
“His vision for Asian football had been an inspiration to us all and his achievements both here at the AFC and at the FAM stand as a monument to his love of the game.
“He was dedicated to grassroots football and the development of the game in Asia. It had been an honour to follow in his footsteps,” he said.
Meanwhile, AFC President Shaikh Salman Ebrahim Al Khalifa said Peter served Asian football with passion and professionalism and the news of his passing would shock and sadden all those who involved in the great game on this continent
“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 was a teacher in Seremban after finishing his studies in the United Kingdom and Canada, before subsequently becoming the FAM assistant secretary from 1963 to 1980, where he was also the Team Manager for the national team that qualified for the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972.
In 1968, he was appointed as the first deputy director of sports in the newly established Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports.
He was also the longest serving general secretary in AFC history, having served under three AFC presidents — Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah (1978-1994) and Sultan Ahmad Shah (1994-2002), both from Malaysia, and Mohamad Hamman of Qatar.
During his tenure at AFC, he had also helped Fifa, the world governing body for football, in organising numerous World Cups and Olympics.
Despite retiring from the AFC, he remained active in the football world especially through Vision Asia to popularise the sport at the grassroots level across Asia. — Bernama