The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) ambition, under its Vision and Mission, to grow the popularity of football across the continent marked a significant milestone on Tuesday, May 15 as a record 41 Member Associations (MA) pledged to celebrate the AFC Grassroots Football Day 2018.
The latest achievement demonstrates the continued progress of the grassroots movement in Asia with a new participation record set every year since the AFC Grassroots Football Day was inaugurated in 2013.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said, “The grassroots movement represents the catalyst for football development to thrive at all levels. From the Continent’s biggest icons gracing the world’s biggest stages, to Asia’s rising stars, every journey in football begins at the Grassroots.”
“The AFC outlined our ambitions to ensure football remains the number one sport in the continent and grassroots football plays an essential role to ensure that Asian football achieves our Vision and Mission.”
“Our success is a tribute to the unity and solidarity of our Member Associations and the hard work of enthusiastic coaches and volunteers who share a passion for the game.”
“I would like to express my appreciation to our Member Associations for their commitment and dedication to bring the joys of the game to people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities. Let’s continue to build on these strong foundations for a brighter future for Asian football and above all, for tomorrow’s generations.”
One of the key highlights this year has been the diversity and depth of activities being planned and organised by the AFC Member Associations, further underlining the AFC’s grassroots philosophy of encouraging mass participation for all, providing more opportunities for social inclusion, supporting healthy lifestyles and the development of young people, both in sporting and educational aspects.
At the forefront of innovation and inclusion, Guam Football Association will be honouring and organising a competition for mothers for the first time, while the Korea Football Association will be deepening its engagements through the staging of football experience camps for children living in rural communities such as farming, mountain and fishing provinces.
The 2018 edition also sees the return of Pakistan Football Federation, who will be organising several youth and grassroots competitions and training camps, as well as Afghanistan Football Federation who will be staging a three-day course for aspiring grassroots coaches.
The AFC’s commitment to grow grassroots football and its desire to work hand-in-hand with its MAs continues to gain strong momentum. The recently launched game-changing tool – the AFC Grassroots Charter – has been well-received and as many as 15 Member Associations have submitted their programmes for endorsement.