AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said the organisation will help Qatar deliver a successful FIFA World Cup ©AFC

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has said the organisation will strive to ensure Qatar delivers a successful FIFA World Cup next year.

Shaikh Salman made the comments during the AFC’s 31st Congress, which was held virtually today.

It will be the second men’s FIFA World Cup hosted by AFC members, following Japan and South Korea hosting the event back in 2002.

The tournament will be the first FIFA World Cup held in the Arab world.

Shaikh Salman said the tournament was part of a key period for the AFC.

"Twenty years after Japan and the Korea Republic, the global showpiece will be the best proof of Asia’s progress and the great strides we have made together," he said.

"The AFC is determined to support Qatar in hosting the greatest ever FIFA World Cup to date.

"The coming years will be a crucial period for the AFC and its members as Asia will be at the centre of world football.

"As I have said before, this is Asia’s time and in less than two months, we will usher in 2022 with the AFC Women's Asian Cup in India.

"Expanded to 12 teams, it represents our desire to strengthen the women's game in Asia and I am confident that the All India Football Federation and the Local Organising Committee will provide our female stars with the perfect stage.

"India will also host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and the spotlight will remain in Asia with the FIFA Club World Cup moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2022."

The AFC Congress heard from FIFA President Gianni Infantino via a video message.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino addressed the AFC Congress via videolink ©AFC
FIFA President Gianni Infantino addressed the AFC Congress via videolink ©AFC

The Swiss official reiterated comments he made to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Extraordinary General Assembly yesterday, where he suggested opponents a proposal for biennial World Cups are afraid of losing their position at the top of the sport.

FIFA’s feasibility study into shifting from a traditional four-year World Cup cycle to a biennial one has attracted criticism from European football’s governing body UEFA and the South American Football Confederation.

A series of top European leagues have strongly signalled their opposition to the proposals.

The AFC is among organisations to have been more supportive of the proposal.

FIFA is set to hold a global summit on the international calendar on December 20.

Infantino reiterated that process was a consultation, suggesting to the AFC that while biennial World Cups were a possibility, other opportunities to play at an intercontinental level could be considered.

His comments could indicate a potential change in approach from FIFA.

Infantino said the organisation is hoping to provide more meaningful and challenging games to benefit global football, including yearly youth competitions.

The Congress saw AFC members vote in favour of a motion submitted by the organisation’s Executive Committee which confirmed associations which failed to participate in AFC competitions for two years prior to the Congress would not be suspended from voting.

The move was aimed at recognising the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AFC highlighted efforts to deliver a tailor-made technical staff initiative for the members, a social responsibility strategy and child safeguarding policy.

Approval was given to the AFC’s audited financial accounts for 2020, budgets for 2021 and 2022, as well as the appointment of the external auditors from December 2021 to December 2024.