KUALA LUMPUR: Football administrator Datuk Peter Velappan has passed away at the age of 83.
Asian Football Confederation general secretary Datuk Windsor John paid his tribute to his mentor, and said it is a loss to the country.
"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.
"He 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."
AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa 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."
Velappan guided Malaysia to qualification for the 1972 Olympics in Munich as the national team manager.
He was also the AFC general secretary for 29 years from 1978 to 2007.
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 before joining the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in 1954.
From 1963 to 1980, he was the assistant secretary of FAM.
Under Velappan's watch as AFC general secretary, he oversaw the entry of many member countries which also saw Asia hosting its first ever FIFA World Cup.
Velappan was the coordination director of the Organising Committee of the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan.
He served under three AFC presidents: Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah (1978–1994), Sultan Ahmad Shah (1994–2002) and Mohamed Hammam from Qatar (2002–2007). Velappan retired in 2007.