Riyadh, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), First Vice President of FIFA, has praised the success of the group stage matches of the AFC Champions League competition for West Asian clubs, which concluded on Friday, expressing his satisfaction over the successful administrative and technical organization in hosting the five groups.
He stressed that the Asian national federations are an integral part of football in the Asian continent, and the impressive successes witnessed by all AFC championships reflect the unity, the passion for excellence, the accuracy of coordination, and the depth of the relationship between all, adding that achieving this coincided with the professionalism of dealing with global health measures of the Covid 19 crisis, which resulted in significant success in the safe conduct of competitions, calling for pride in the role of the medical and logistical support staff.
?Sheikh Al-Khalifa said: “I extend my thanks and appreciation to the Saudi Football Association, which hosted the first, third, and fourth groups in a remarkable manner that confirms the strength and professionalism of its cadres led by Yasser bin Hassan Al-Mishal. I also extend my appreciation to the UAE Football Association, which hosted the second group with complete success under the leadership of Sheikh Rashid bin Hamid Al-Nuaimi, and to the Indian Football Association led by Praful Patil for their successful hosting of fifth Group”.
The AFC President said technical levels and the exciting competition to qualify for the quarter-finals from start until the last match reflected the strength of the Asian football, the giving of its clubs, and the success of the tournament held under such an exceptional global situation for the second time.
He pointed out that the outstanding success in the safe handling of the Covid 19 crisis and the speedy response to any emergency proved that Asia possesses the elements of global crisis management thanks to the unity that features its football work paths and its high-performance human competencies.
He said: "We are proud that we have withstood the most violent global health crisis, as we joined hands and planned well and continued to move forward with the competitions at the level of clubs and teams, with professionalism and accuracy that embodies the spirit of the Asian continent and the depth and cohesion of its unity."
20 teams participated in group stage matches of the AFC Champions League competition for West Asian clubs, where Saudi Arabia hosted three groups, the UAE and India hosted a group each and witnessed the qualification of Al-Nasr (KSA), Persepolis (Iran), Sharjah FC (UAE), Al-Hilal (KSA), Al-Wehda (UAE), Tractor (Iran), Esteghlal Tehran (Iran), Istiklol (Uzbekistan) to the quarter-finals, which will be held on the 13 and 14 of September.
The new date for the start of the group stage for East Asian clubs will be in June and July 2021, after taking into account the current travel restrictions and the challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Source: Saudi Press Agency