Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President, today acknowledged the solidarity and unity which has not only allowed the AFC to begin the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic but also deliver more global events to Asia.
In the first ever AFC Executive Committee meeting to be held online, Shaikh Salman praised all the Member Associations for the way that they had contributed to the health and wellbeing of their communities during the recent crisis.
He said, “On behalf of the Asian football family, I thank you all for the work of your initiatives and the work of your MAs on behalf of your communities during this troubled time.”
The AFC President was joined by the Executive Committee in offering his congratulations to the Football Federation Australia (FFA) on the success of their joint bid with New Zealand Football (NZF) to be the first cross-Confederation hosts of any FIFA competition – the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023. Shaikh Salman said, “It was a historic bid but most importantly it was the strongest bid. The FIFA Evaluation Report scored it 4.1 out of 5 and Colombia 2.8. If we are to commission these reports, then the Council, I felt, was duty bound to follow the recommendations.”
“I am delighted that CAF and CONCACAF – as well as the FIFA President – joined with all the AFC and OFC FIFA Council Members in upholding that belief and voting for Australia/New Zealand. Congratulations to FFA and to all those involved. I am sure that the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 will be the greatest yet.”
“But while congratulating FFA we must also personally thank Kohzo Tashima and the Japan FA for their outstanding act of solidarity, sportsmanship and fair-play to ensure a success for the AFC/OFC bid. So, we should show our gratitude to both FFA and JFA.”
The AFC President also reflected on the fact that Asia will now be the focus of world football in the coming years: “Asia can look forward to hosting not only the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022 but the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 and the FIFA Club World Cup in the China in the near future.
“Then next year Asia will welcome not only the Olympic football tournament in Tokyo but the FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup in India and the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia and not forgetting the FIFA supported Pan-Arab tournament to be held in December 2021 in Qatar as part of preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The focus of world football will be on Asia and I know that we can deliver.”
Finally, while accepting the economic as well as medical issues faced at this time, the Executive Committee expressed their confidence that the remaining AFC competitions – club and national team – would be completed in 2020 – where safe to do so. The AFC President thanked the Member Associations which have offered to host centralised groups.
Shaikh Salman added, “Like so many industries, football has faced some challenging times but there is encouraging news as we review the interest registered in the MENA broadcast rights.”
The AFC will also establish a working group to preserve and protect the Confederation’s Commercial Rights.
Pursuant to Article 26(2) of the AFC Statutes (Edition 2019) the Executive Committee agreed that the 30th AFC Congress should be held on December 9, 2020.