The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Member Associations Taskforce today emphasised the importance of the MAs to remain independent of third-party influence.
Chairing the meeting, Deputy Chairman of the AFC MA Taskforce Mariano V. Araneta Jr. said: “Our Member Associations are being punished for actions which are outside their control. It is not that the Members have broken the rules but they are suspended because of the decisions taken by their governments.
“It is extremely damaging for the Members, who are not only banned from playing international football but also lose their grassroots funding. Development is being hugely affected in these MAs through lost income from their sponsors, as well as funding from the AFC and FIFA. This, in turn, leads to staff losses and cancelled projects.”
“The consequences of external interference into the affairs of our Member Associations are very serious, ultimately hindering the growth of Asian football. We need to support these MAs to make sure their football does not fall behind. We also need to take all possible steps to avoid third-party intervention in our MAs.”
A related issue which the Taskforce discussed was the scope of the suspensions based on third-party interference, a decision which is taken by FIFA. It was noted that the scope needs to be clarified and the Taskforce agreed that suspended MAs should still be eligible to receive development and financial support from the AFC and FIFA.
The AFC MA Taskforce also discussed the pressing need for all the AFC’s 47 MAs to adopt strategic development plans setting out their Vision, Mission and Goals. To assist the MAs in this endeavour, the Taskforce will devise a framework document which will contain standard requirements.