March 8 – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has embraced International Women’s Day with a series of activities co-ordinated across its member associations.
The AFC said that close to 13,900 participants from 37 member nations are expected to take part in planned programmes and events, with some initiatives continuing throughout March.
The AFC Women’s Football Day is an annual event coinciding with international Women’s Day and this year sees 31 MAs from last year participating again and with Bhutan, Guam, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Northern Mariana Islands, Palestine, Singapore and Vietnam participating for the ninth time.
Bahrain, Indonesia and Japan are renewing their participation, as well as Pakistan who celebrated the milestone occasion in 2019 and 2020.
For the first time West Asian nations of Qatar and Saudi Arabia will participate with a range of activities. Qatar will stage a football festival for girls aged 14 and below, while Saudi Arabia have planned a girls’ football festival in Riyadh featuring their senior women’s side, who made their international debut last year, as well as their newly formed U-17 team.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “It fills me with pride to say that the AFC is the first and only Confederation in the world to have a designated day to acknowledge the commitment of all the women who strive to make football the number one sport on the Continent.”
Salman recognised the increasing growth and importance of the women’s game and highlighted that it is translating through to elite performance with the AFC having six nations qualified for the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer. He also reconfirmed the AFC’s commitments to the women’s game and women in his confederation.
“With competitions such as the AFC Women’s Club Championship and the much-awaited AFC Women’s Champions League™ coming up next year, the AFC is resolute in its efforts to inspire millions of young girls across Asia, to believe in their potential and to elevate the professional landscape of the women’s game.
“The progress made by Asian women on the pitch is matched by the success of our officials and administrators off the pitch with the AFC Executive Committee leading the way where a minimum but not limited to five positions have been allocated for the Confederation’s female leaders, while noting that the AFC welcomes all women candidates to be nominated for all positions on the decision-making body to ensure maximum inclusivity and representation,” he said.
“As we celebrate the history Asian women are scripting, let us also look forward to the many new chapters that we will write together in the firm assurance that the AFC will always work in close partnership with all of you to usher in a new era for the women’s game.”
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