The AFC President shared his views during the United Arab Emirates Football Association (UAE FA) virtual retreat, which witnessed the participation of major football officials, including FIFA President Gianni Infantino, and representatives of the clubs, referees, coaches, players and the media in the UAE, as part of an initiative led by UAE FA President Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi.
Shaikh Salman took the opportunity to discuss several key areas which are essential in developing the game, including competitions, national teams, referees, management, professionalism and marketing.
“I hail the UAE FA’s initiative to organise this retreat, which represents a platform to share the ideas and plans with official and political organisations, to develop the future of the game, and I stress that such meetings can be a bridge to develop the partnership between UAE FA and other parties.
“I wish all participants the very best and I hope they will be able to make recommendations and suggestions that serve the hopes of all stakeholders of the game in the UAE, and I thank Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi for inviting me to participate in this retreat," he said.
The AFC President also explained the development plans of the Confederation, adding: “During the last few months, we have been discussing the best possible ways to resume our club competitions, in addition to deciding the dates for our Youth and Futsal competitions, with the highest safety precautions in mind, and we organised several meetings with Member Associations to reach the best solutions to resume our competitions.
“We are working on developing the clubs licensing project, to improve the professionalism and stability of Asian clubs, and held several workshops for match commissioners, medical officers, management and media officers. In the coming weeks, we will also organise a special workshop for Member Associations on the ways they have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their preparations to resume their local competitions.”
Shaikh Salman also stressed the AFC’s commitment to maintain the Financial Assistance Programme: “We made sure that the Financial Assistance Programme remain unaffected for Member Associations during the pandemic, as the AFAP payments were done immediately, to ensure all staff members and other contractual payments were carried out without delay and we will continue the infrastructure projects under the AFC President’s Initiative."
The AFC President also gave an overview of the AFC’s Technical and Development milestone programmes: “The AFC technical department has several projects aimed at developing coaches, grassroots and women's football. While at the management level, we also held a workshop for General Secretaries from our West Asia Member Associations last week, to share best practices and experiences, and to strengthen the partnership between AFC and West Asia MAs.
“In refereeing, we continue to build on the momentum of our achievements and successes in the recent years, which include the record number of Asian referees in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the launch of the AFC Referee Academy, which is the first among all Confederations.
“In general, all our projects and plans have been put in place to ensure Asian football continues to be global leaders of the game, which requires the support and commitment of the AFC MAs.
“The AFC is only as strong as our Members, and we are committed to strengthening our partnership with our MAs to grow together as one Asian football family.
“During the last few years, we have worked tirelessly to engage with our MAs in the decision making process, through their representatives in the Congress or in the Executive Committee as well as our Standing Committees and this partnership continues as we seek to further support our MAs through the different projects.
“The AFC’s initiatives require the continuous support from our MAs in order for all of us to fulfil our ambitions and we are dedicated towards enhancing the capabilities and strengthening the day-to-day running of our MAs.”