By CGTN's Zhang Yang
Chinese football official Zhang Jian has been elected to the FIFA Council, following the world football governing body's 27th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Congress in Bahrain.
Zhang, the China Football Association vice president, will serve from 2017 to 2019. He becomes the second person from China to join the organization's top table after Zhang Jilong, who served as AFC chief between 2011 and 2013.
Zhang’s election is being seen by observers as another step for China towards hosting a World Cup tournament in the near future.
Besides Zhang Jian, four new members were then chosen to join the FIFA Council, including Philippine FA head Mariano Araneta, Chung Mong Gyu of South Korea and Bangladeshi Mahfuza Akhter Kiron.
The formation of the council came as a response to calls for FIFA to reform following 2015's corruption scandal. It replaced the FIFA Executive Committee, and now acts at the main decision-making entity.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino attended the meeting in Bahrain, where he made a speech that outlined how the new plans to reform the World Cup to 48 teams in 2024 can have a positive effect on the Asia region.