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Salman highlights AFC’s commitment to 2021 fixture as region restarts

April 7 – With the AFC Champions League due to kick off today with preliminary qualifying rounds, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa reaffirmed the commitment of the confederation towards its competition calendar.

Speaking at an AFC Executive Committee meeting in Manama, Bahrain, attended by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Salman said: “The successful completion of the AFC Champions League 2020 has given us given a model to approach 2021 with more confidence and our thanks must go to the Qatar Football Association, the Qatari authorities and health professionals for their commitment and support.

“Our sincere gratitude must also go to all of our Member Associations who have agreed to host our national team and club matches in the weeks and months ahead.”

The AFC suspended its Asian qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup in China last month, forcing a compression of the World Cup qualifying schedule in particular, into a continuation in June.

Group qualification will then resume with 12 teams split into two groups of six which will qualify the top two teams from each group for Qatar and the third-placed teams for a shot instead of intercontinental play-off.

Salman stressed the importance of the return to competition saying: “It was crucial for us to show the world that Asian football is ready to return – for players, teams and fans across the continent and, equally importantly, we must continue to demonstrate that the AFC is in the best possible position to deliver safe and world-class competitions, as outlined in the AFC vision.

During the meeting, the Executive Committee granted the hosting rights of the AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup 2022 to Uzbekistan while confirming the new dates from April 4 to 17, 2022. AFC U17 Women’s Championship 2022 will be hosted by the Indonesian Football Association from May 9-22.

The Executive Committee has also decided that the 31st AFC Congress will be held in conjunction with the AFC Annual Awards in Doha, Qatar in November 2021.

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