Peter Velappan

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Peter Velappan
Personal information
Date of birth (1935-10-01) 1 October 1935 (age 82)
Teams managed
Years Team
1968–1968 Malaysia national football team

Dato' Peter Velappan (born 1 October 1935) is a Malaysian association football administrator who served as the General Secretary of the Asian Football Confederation from 1978 to 2007.


Peter Velappan was born in 1935. He studied at the University of Birmingham, Loughborough College in the United Kingdom and McGill University in Canada. He became a teacher in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan before joining the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in 1954. From 1963 to 1980, he was the Assistant Secretary of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), during which he introduced professionalism in the country. In 1972, as Team Manager and Coach, he guided the national team to qualification for the 1972 Olympics in Munich.[1]

In 1978, Velappan was appointed General Secretary of the AFC.[1] He oversaw the entry of many member countries into the AFC during his tenure, which also saw Asia host its first ever FIFA World Cup.[1][2] He was Coordination Director of the Organising Committee of the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan.[3] He served under three AFC presidents: Malaysians Hamzah Abu Samah (1978–1994), Sultan Ahmad Shah (1994–2002) and Mohamed bin Hammam from Qatar (2002–2007). Velappan retired in 2007.[3][4]

Velappan remains as Project Director of Vision Asia, a program devoted to popularising football at the grassroots level in Asia and raising the standards of performance to compete with the rest of the world.[2][3]


Velappan is known for his outspoken views on the development of Asian football. He famously criticised Asian footballers for their lack of fitness in 2001.[5]

He also had a difficult working relationship with AFC President Mohamed bin Hammam towards the end of his tenure as general secretary, after the latter suggested moving the AFC headquarters away from Kuala Lumpur.[6][7] He campaigned against Bin Hammam during the election for AFC's seat on the FIFA Executive Committee in 2009, backing Shaikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa from Bahrain.[6] Bin Hammam barely won the election.[8] Velappan also publicly slammed Bin Hammam's candidacy during the 2011 FIFA presidential election, citing Bin Hammam's "undemocratic" approach.[4]


Velappan caused a minor controversy during the 2004 AFC Asian Cup when he accused Chinese fans in the Workers Stadium in Beijing of jeering at VIP guests during the opening ceremony. He chided them as "not polite" and expressed doubts over Beijing's ability to host the Olympics in 2008.[9] When it later emerged that a technical glitch involving the stadium's big screen had mistakenly created the impression that fans were booing at the guests, he apologised.[10]


  1. ^ a b c "Dato’ Peter Vellapan". Olympic Council of Malaysia. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  2. ^ a b McKean, Ian (4 September 2006). "Peter Velappan: The man behind the Asian resurgence in soccer". Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "AFC General Secretary Velappan to retire". 28 November 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Bali, Rahul (22 March 2011). "Fifa will be doomed if Mohamed Bin Hammam wins the presidency elections against Sepp Blatter - former AFC general secretary Peter Velappan". Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Velappan targets high five". BBC News. 11 April 2002. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Velappan rules out AFC return". 17 April 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  7. ^ "Football: Velappan warns AFC members may quit". Channel NewsAsia. 5 May 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Hammam survives close election". 8 May 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Soccer Fans: Mr.Velappan, Please Apologise!". 19 July 2004. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "Velappan backtracks". Agence France Presse. The Daily Star (Bangladesh). 20 July 2004. Retrieved 12 May 2011.