Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has acknowledged the commitment and unity of the AFC Member Associations (MAs) towards the resumption of the Asian football calendar in 2021.
Chairing the 7th AFC Executive Committee meeting in Manama, Bahrain, the AFC President said that the highest health standards and protocols implemented during the successful staging of the AFC Champions League 2020 in Doha, Qatar, had provided a comprehensive blueprint to replicate in 2021, and thanked the AFC MAs for their interest in hosting the centralised formats of the upcoming Asian Qualifiers, the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup.
Shaikh Salman said: “The successful completion of the 2020 AFC Champions League has given us a template to approach 2021 with greater confidence and our thanks must go to the Qatar Football Association, the Qatari Authorities and the medical professionals for their commitment and support.
“Our sincere appreciation must also go to all our Member Associations who have agreed to host our national team and club matches in the coming weeks and months.”
The AFC President added: “It was crucial for us to show the world that Asian football is ready to return - for the players, the teams and fans across the Continent and, just as important, we must continue to demonstrate that the AFC is in the best possible position to deliver safe and world-class competitions as underlined in the AFC’s Vision.”
At the outset, Shaikh Salman expressed his warm appreciation to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who attended the meeting in Bahrain and thanked FIFA for its leadership and continued support to the AFC and its MAs, particularly during these challenging times.
The highlights of the meeting are as follows:
· The AFC Executive Committee decided to award the hosting rights of the AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup 2022 to the Uzbekistan Football Association while confirming the new dates from April 4-17, 2022. The AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup 2022 will be hosted by the Football Association of Indonesia from May 9-22.
· The members were also briefed about FIFA’s decision to immediately suspend the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) in light of the recent events which took place at the PFF headquarters in Lahore during which a group of protesters stormed the offices and took control of the premises from the PFF Normalisation Committee.
· The AFC Executive Committee was also briefed on the AFC’s 2021 financial situation as well as commercial arrangements, which includes the finalisation of the revised agency agreement with Football Marketing Asia (FMA) following which the members affirmed a collaborative approach with the AFC’s exclusive commercial partner for the commercial process and event delivery programme.
· It was also decided that the 31st AFC Congress would be held in conjunction with the AFC Annual Awards in Doha, Qatar, in November 2021.