Doha, 10 December 2020 - H.E. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, President of the Qatar Football Association (QFA), yesterday joined the continental football family for the virtual AFC Congress.
The QFA President was joined by Hani Ballan, member of the Executive Committee of QFA, and Mansour Al Ansari, QFA Secretary General, for the AFC Congress that was addressed by President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa in Kuala Lumpur.
The online Congress observed a minute’s silence of respect for Argentine World Cup hero Diego Armando Maradona - who died on November 25 - and the legends of Asian football who have passed in the last year,
FIFA chief Infantino, on behalf of the international football family, thanked the Asian football federations for their work through initiatives aimed at promoting the FIFA mission and goals to develop the game across the continent.
Infantino praised Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, expressing his great admiration for the ‘superb plans’ to host the game’s top event, saying he saw the fast pace of development during his visit to Doha last week.
“The next edition of the FIFA World Cup will be the best in the history of the tournament,” Infantino said during the meeting.
"I've been in Doha a couple of weeks ago, work is progressing in an incredible way," Infantino said.
"Everything will be ready, everything will be state of the art and by then we will certainly be able to celebrate, all together, at a football party that the world has not yet seen."
In his comments, the AFC President thanked the Qatar Football Association and the Qatari authorities, particularly the medical professionals, for working closely with the AFC to implement the new COVID-19 health protocols which allowed the AFC Champions League to be played in Doha. The final is on December 19, 2020.
The AFC President added: “It was important to put Asian football back on the field for the MAs, teams, players, fans, officials and commercial and broadcast partners. We could not have achieved so much without your support.”
While cautiously optimistic about the future, Shaikh Salman emphasised: “There are difficult decisions still to be made. There is still so much of financial instability due to COVID-19 and we are working hard to ensure that the AFC’s finances are secured to fulfil our vision for the game in Asia.
“Of course, it has affected our stakeholders, our sponsors and media partners but we thank them for having faith in the AFC and their continued support for the game in Asia.
“Good governance, prudent financial management, as seen in our accounts and budgets, as well as our stronger unity will see us through to a brighter and better 2021.”
The Congress approved the audited accounts for 2019, as well as the AFC revised budget for 2020. The Congress also passed amendments to the AFC Statutes in line with the Confederation’s determination to display the greatest level of Governance and Integrity.