AFC to form Covid expert group as region awaits vaccination roll-out

February 3 – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is to set up a Covid-19 Advisory Expert Group to advise on the development of the pandemic and make recommendations for the management and prevention of the infection.

At a meeting of the AFC’s Medical Committee yesterday it was also agreed to adopt the ‘FIFA 11 for Kids’ guidelines around concussion management for children under 12, and to support IFAB in the concussion substitution trials.

But it is the Covid expert group where focus will be, with expert members to be drawn from epidemiological and public health disciplines.
Medical committee chairperson Dato’ Dr. Gurcharan Singh said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been the toughest crisis in modern history, and it is crucial that we continue to support our Member Associations and provide important professional advice to the AFC.”

The AFC completed its Champions League competition by centralising all matches in Qatar at the end of last year, where for the East region event no covid cases were recorded. The AFC will be centralising the group stages of this year’s competition at yet to be named venues.

But for a wider international spread of games to return, the region will ultimately be reliant on the speed of national implementation of Covid-19 vaccination programmes as vaccines become widely available.

It is here that the Covid expert group will be crucial as the confederation seeks to safely return its competition calendar to full schedules, in particular across it youth and developing competitions, as well as its general development activities.

“Through the AFC COVID-19 Advisory Expert Group, the AFC will not only ensure our competitions continue to implement the highest medical protocols, providing greater clarity and offer advice as well as assistance during these unprecedented times,” said Singh.

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