The Saudi Arabian Khalid Al Dabal, a former member of FIFA's Executive Committee, passed away on 27 January after suffering a heart attack in Abu Dhabi.
Abu Khalid, as he was known, was in the United Arab Emirates attending the semi-final of the Gulf Cup between Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Saturday 27 January when he suffered a heart attack. Al Dabal was born on 17 March 1953 and contributed greatly to the development of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Mohammed Bin Hammam, the President of the Asian Football Confederation and a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, paid tribute to Al Dabal, saying, "He was not only a great football administrator but also a good man and a friend. His contribution to Asian and world football is enormous and should never be forgotten."
Chairman of the AFC's Competitions Committee, a former member of the FIFA Executive Committee (1986 - 2002), and a member of the FIFA World Cup Organising Committee (1990 - 2006), Al Dabal also sat on many other key committees. At the Paris Congress in 2004, he was made an Honorary FIFA Member. The news of the passing of this football-loving man has been met by great sadness within the ranks of FIFA.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter paid the following tribute:
"He was a man with a deep love for football who became an instrumental force in improving and promoting the game. His dedication and numerous achievements were of such value to the world of football that at the Centennial FIFA Congress in 2004, he was recognised with the very special distinction of ‘Honorary Member of FIFA’. Although his presence will be sorely missed, he will surely live on in the hearts and minds of everyone fortunate enough to have been touched by his life."