The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) commitment to prioritise the health and wellbeing of all its stakeholders by upholding the highest health protocol standards were further underlined after the AFC Medical Committee agreed at its meeting today to form the AFC COVID-19 Advisory Expert Group.

Epidemiological and Public Health Experts will be tasked to provide the AFC with expert advice on the current pandemic and establish recommendations and guidance in the management and prevention of the infection.

Leading the discussions at its third meeting, Chairperson Dato’ Dr. Gurcharan Singh said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been the toughest crisis in modern history, and it is crucial that we continue to support our Member Associations and provide important professional advice to the AFC.

“Through the AFC COVID-19 Advisory Expert Group, the AFC will not only ensure our competitions continue to implement the highest medical protocols, providing greater clarity and offer advice as well as assistance during these unprecedented times.”

The AFC will continue monitoring closely the developments with regards to COVID-19 vaccination implementation strategies once the vaccine becomes widely available. The AFC General Secretary, Dato’ Windsor John thanked the Committee for their support in delivering the successful and safe AFC Champions League in Doha where no cases of COVID were detected during the East Region event.

The Committee unanimously agreed to award the hosting rights of the next edition of the AFC Medical Conference in 2022 to the Qatar Football Association (QFA) while expressing its confidence in the country’s hosting capabilities to build on the strong momentum of the highly acclaimed AFC Medical Conference, which broke all participation records during the sixth edition in Chengdu, China PR in 2019.

In line with the new World-Anti-Doping Code 2021, the AFC in collaboration with FIFA Anti-Doping Unit will kick start the Anti-Doping Educational Programme via webinar for all involved in football on February 23-24, 2021. Participants will receive information on changes to the code, an updated list of banned substances/methods as well as the testing process.

In discussing the issues on the management of concussions in relation to children under 12, the Committee agreed that the ‘FIFA 11 for Kids’ guidelines should be introduced and that greater emphasis should be placed on coach and player education when it comes to heading and identifying symptoms of concussion.

The Committee also discussed the latest decision by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and, in highlighting the importance of treating concussions, gave their support to the IFAB in the concussion substitution trials.

All decisions made by the Committee will now be ratified by the AFC Executive Committee before taking effect.-

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