QATAR

Asian football chief lauds Qatar as AFC Champions League returns

Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa gave his thoughts on the return of the AFC Champions League after six months.

Asian football chief lauds Qatar as AFC Champions League returns

Asian Football Confederation president Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, who is also a senior FIFA vice-president, says the return of the AFC Champions League offers a noble sporting message of resilience in the face of the current circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, noting that Qatar’s 2022 World Cup stadiums are a crucial element in the resumption of continental club competition after a six-month hiatus due to Covid-19.

Al Khalifa’s comments come as Champions League matches got underway in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Monday, with three of the Qatar 2022 arenas - Khalifa International Stadium, Al Janoub Stadium and Education City Stadium, as well as Al-Sadd’s Jassim bin Hamad Stadium - hosting western region matches from the group stage until the semi-finals.

AFC chief dedicates Champions League return to frontline workers

Al Khalifa said: “The resumption of the AFC Champions League in Doha is a gift for workers on the front lines and medical workers who have been fighting the pandemic in Asia; for many months, they have played a heroic role in dealing with the pandemic with efficiency and professionalism, offering us the most wonderful example of sacrifice and courage.

“The AFC has done everything in its power to make the administrative and logistical arrangements necessary to make AFC Champions League matches happen within the best possible environment, one that befits the reputation and stature of Asian football and reflects the Champions League’s standing in the Asian game.”

Al Khalifa lauds "tireless efforts" of Doha organisers

Given Qatar’s exceptional capabilities and excellent reputation when it comes to staging major sporting competitions, with an abundance of high-quality infrastructure in place in the country, he spoke of his confidence that Doha would prove a successful host.

He added: “I really appreciate the tireless efforts put in by the competent authorities in Qatar alongside the Asian Football Confederation, in order to complete all the necessary preparations to deliver the tournament to the highest international standards. I’m looking forward to seeing the participating teams reflect this excellence on the pitch as well.”