May 17 – The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) celebrated the return of its Grassroots Football Day over the weekend with more than 230,000 participants in member association activity across the region.
With the AFC repeatedly committing in recent weeks to getting its elite competitions back in play in a region that has been ravaged by covid, the fact that 41 Member Associations (MAs) pledged to take part in the day showed a strong collective solidarity to renewing the game across the biggest of FIFA’s confederations.
It was an affirmation of the positivity of football recognised by AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
“The grassroots movement has made incredible progress across the Continent in recent years, and I am pleased to welcome the return of the AFC Grassroots Football Day, which once again reinforces our optimism towards the safe and successful resumption of Asian football in 2021,” said Salman.
“Our aspiration is to see everyone, regardless of their age, ability, gender and background, across all corners of Asia, presented with opportunities not just to develop a passion for the beautiful game, but to cultivate strong values, build resilience, character and transferable skills, through a lifelong journey in football.”
MA activities were diverse, from single day activations to drive grassroots football participation through to an ‘Enjoy the Game’ National Grassroots Championship organised by the Chinese Football Association (CFA) from May to December. The tournament is expected to attract more than 200,000 participants.
Meanwhile, the Kyrgyz Football Union (KFU) and the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) are inviting national team players to share their inspiring experience to young players while the Mongolian Football Federation (MFF) will initiate a promotional campaign titled – ‘Football is everywhere’ – to celebrate the grassroots event in 21 provinces across the country.
In Australia, a ‘MiniRoos AFC Grassroots Gala day’ will be introduced by Football Australia to celebrate the driving force of community engagement and to encourage more children to play football.
The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) and the Syrian Football Association (SFA) are making a return to the Continental grassroots festival this year while six MAs – Bhutan, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam will mark their eighth successive year of participation with a series of workshops, tournaments and game stations.
“It has been a challenging, and at times uncertain journey, and I would like to warmly thank all the AFC MAs as well as our valued and loyal stakeholders for their continued support and for believing in our Vision to expand the reach of football,” said Salman.
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