Recognising the efforts of Asia’s grassroots heroes
Kuala Lumpur: I am delighted that we will have a record 41 Member Associations (MA) celebrating the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Grassroots Football Day this year.
From just 13 Member Associations in the inaugural 2013 edition, our grassroots journey continues to scale new heights each year. I would like to express my appreciation to our Member Associations for their commitment and dedication to bring the joys of the game to people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities.
The grassroots movement represents the catalyst for football development to thrive at all levels. From the Continent’s biggest icons gracing the world’s biggest stages, to Asia’s rising stars, every journey in football begins at the Grassroots.
The AFC outlined our ambitions to ensure football remains the number one sport in the continent and grassroots football plays an essential role to ensure that Asian football achieves our Vision and Mission.
Beyond expanding the reach of football, grassroots football is built on the principles of free-play and inclusivity. It exemplifies how the joys of the beautiful game can help build individuals of character, promote the spirit of fair play and a healthy lifestyle. It instils positive lifelong values in our youths and stimulates social development in communities.
The AFC is committed to working hand-in-hand with our MAs to ensure the implementation of exciting and wide-ranging grassroots activities throughout the continent. We introduced the game-changing Grassroots Charter last year and I am happy to note that it has been well-received by our Member Associations with the AFC Grassroots Panel in the process of assessing 15 applications to date.
Football needs true believers, people who invest their time, effort and, often, their own resources to grow the game. Recognising the efforts of Asia’s unsung grassroots heroes, I am also pleased that we will introduce three new Special Grassroots Awards to celebrate their contributions.
Our success is a tribute to the unity and solidarity of our Member Associations and the hard work of enthusiastic coaches and volunteers who share a passion for the game. Let’s continue to build on these strong foundations for a brighter future for Asian football and above all, for tomorrow’s generations.
I wish you all a fun-filled and enriching Grassroots Day!
Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa