The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) efforts to enhance the capabilities of its Member Associations (MA) were further underlined on Wednesday at the AFC Development Stakeholder Workshop in Malaysia.
The aim of the workshop, the first-of-its-kind conducted by the AFC, was to stimulate strategic discussions on best practices and identify partnership opportunities in football development among the AFC MAs and some of the most renowned organisations in European football.
Together with UEFA, with whom AFC has a highly productive Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), representatives from FIFA and CONCACAF were also present to share their valuable insights as were guests from AFC MAs such as China PR, Australia, Japan, Qatar, India and Korea Republic.
Some of the areas at the forefront of the discussions included social responsibility and humanitarian activities, grassroots and technical programmes as well as exploring development needs and possible areas for collaboration and exchanges between Asia and Europe.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa who opened the workshop said: “With the AFC’s Vision and Mission, we have set a clear vision for football to become the number one sport cross Asia and for its teams and players to succeed on the world stage.
“The AFC’s philosophy is that everyone is welcome to develop football across Asia. There is significant work taking place across Asia, but this workshop serves to coordinate our efforts to bring about better outcomes.
“I would like to thank our European and AFC MAs as well as our partners from around the world for their commitment to value-add and strengthen the football ecosystem in Asia.”
Markus Weidner, Head of Coach Education and International Relations of the German FA, Deutscher Fussball-Bund (DFB), who signed a MoU with the AFC in Kuala Lumpur, said “There are mutually beneficial outcomes for both Europe and Asia and these discussions are an excellent opportunity to explore areas to improve the ongoing partnership.
“If you look at the German football where teams have several Japanese players, there is a natural synergy for us to work together. In many ways, it comes full circle because the investment in Asia has greatly benefitted German football.”
Echoing his sentiments, Romuald Nguyen, Director of the French Football Office in China said: “It is very useful to have an opportunity to discuss these matters directly with our colleagues from Europe and Asia, and to see that while we are often opponents on the pitch, we can be partners off it.”
Pushpargha Chattopadhyay, the AIFF’s Technical Department Head of Administration, said: “The workshop has been an eye-opener, both in the areas of technical and administrative. Grassroots, coach education, youth development and women’s football remain some of the key areas of focus in India. The workshop has surfaced not only the vast programmes and strategies implemented throughout Asia, but also the opportunities to partner to strengthen our efforts.”
Bringing their expertise to the discussions were representatives from FIFA, UEFA, CONCACAF, The Football Association (The FA), Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB), Football Association of Norway (NFF), Fédération Française de Football (FFF), Deutscher Fussball-Bund (DFB), English Premier League (EPL), Dansk Boldspil-Union (DBU), B. V. Vitesse and, the Liga de Fútbol Profesional (La Liga).
(AFC Press Release / Photo courtesy: AFC)