The Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s unwavering commitment to ensure football remains Asia’s number one sport as outlined in its Vision marked a significant milestone today with the AFC Member Associations (MAs) across the length and breadth of the Continent celebrating the 10th anniversary of the landmark AFC Grassroots Football Day.
Since the inaugural year in 2013, when the celebration was launched with the support of 13 MAs, the reach of the event has seen a threefold increase with the 2023 edition set to be celebrated by 39 MAs and by almost 28,000 participants.
In the last few years, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the AFC’s efforts in enhancing the standards of grassroots football across Asia have remained undeterred with a number of seminars and panel discussions being hosted virtually for coaches and tutors to continually keep themselves updated on the best practices in developing football at the grassroots level.
Now with the constraints of the pandemic finally receding in the background, the Confederation is set to regain new momentum with the return of the AFC Grassroots Football Conference later this year.
Similarly, the AFC’s MAs have been actively working towards making football as accessible as possible to people from all walks of life with initiatives such as the Football Association of Hong Kong, China Limited (HKFA)’s collaboration with the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust who inaugurated the Jockey Club Active Ageing Elderly Football Programme, and the Syrian Football Association (SFA) joining hands with its Ministry of Education to launch tournaments for children aged between 12 and 17.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “The AFC Grassroots Football Day was established to commemorate the tireless efforts of our MAs and RAs and, more importantly, to recognise the dedication of all those nameless individuals striving to bring to life the AFC’s ambitions of providing everyone, from children and veterans to those with learning or physical disabilities as well as the socially disadvantaged, with the opportunity to play the beautiful game.
“For the millions who embark on the journey of playing football, it is at the grassroots level that they are widely exposed to valuable life lessons such as discipline, team spirit, social inclusion, and respect, while also being encouraged to embrace a healthy way of living and a life-long love for the game.
“A decade later, it warms my heart to see that this annual celebration of joy and cheer is one of the most anticipated events on the AFC’s busy calendar.”
With 39 MAs pledging their support, the AFC Grassroots Football Day 2023 is yet another indication of the AFC’s resolve in becoming the leading Confederation in the world and its resolve to use the unifying power of football to bring joy and happiness to children across Asia.