For Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa al-Khalifah, President of the Bahrain Football Association, the 27th AFC Congress held in Bahrain this week, has been a great success.
The President – who was speaking at the gathering in Manama – said the Congress had brought together the entire Asian football family to renew their vows of unity and solidarity, and to explore the potential for further football development in Asia.
In an exclusive interview with www.sc.qa, he also commented on the significance of Bahrain hosting the AFC Congress on a date that coincided with the 2022-day countdown mark to the first Middle East World Cup kick-off.
He said: “It’s a matter of enormous pride for us in Bahrain, as it is for Qatar. It will bear eloquent testimony to our strong international competitiveness and outstanding capabilities of staging all types of mega events.”
He added: “The first ever tournament in the Middle East region will feel for us, in the Arab and GCC countries, like a home World Cup, and we will spare no effort to ensure its success.”
Sheikh Ali bin Khalifa al-Khalifah has played a key role in ensuring the success of the AFC Congress and that Bahrain, despite its small size, possesses outstanding ability to organise major events – but he also took the opportunity to credit the AFC President for its success.
“I would like to congratulate Shaikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifah, on the success of the Congress, which was attended also by the president of the world football governing body, Gianni Infantino,” he continued. “And to thank all the member associations that participated in the Congress and played an active role in its success as well as all the international stakeholders who attended the event.”
He ended by explaining how he believes the region has become instrumental in the overall success of football.
Looking ahead, after the AFC Congress and FIFA Congress hosted by Bahrain, preparations are already underway for the forthcoming major events to be held in the region, as UAE will be hosting the FIFA Club World Cup.
This will be followed by the AFC Asian Cup in 2019 and – of course – the highly-anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar.
“We strive for the betterment of football, particularly in Asia. We still have a lot of work to do, and we will join hands with all football stakeholders around the world to that end,” he concluded.
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