Chairman Ali Kafashian Naeini (Iran) opened the second Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Futsal & Beach Soccer Committee Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday by hailing the hugely successful AFC Futsal Club Championship Thailand 2016.
The Chairman, was joined by Deputy Chairman Hachem Sayed Ali Haidar (Lebanon) as well as Members Ali Ahmed Al Buainain (Bahrain), Eric Fok Kai-Shan (Hong Kong), Adel K. Alwan Al Yasiri (Iraq), Benjamin Chio (Macau), Bassam Adeel Jaleel (Maldives), Sheikh Mansoor Al-Hajri (Oman), Azat Muradov (Turkmenistan) and Jahangir Usmanov (Uzbekistan).
Held just hours before the championship final, Members were unanimous in praising the exemplary competition and organisational expertise of the Football Association of Thailand and the Local Organising committee.
The Chairman was also quick to note rising standards and positive strides of Asian futsal in recent times, particularly with the AFC Futsal Championship Uzbekistan 2016, AFC Futsal Club Championship Thailand 2016 and the upcoming FIFA Futsal World Cup Columbia 2016 in September.
The Committee, recognising the need to grow the current pools of players in the continent, agreed on the competition format for the upcoming futsal competitions, which include the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship 2017, the AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2017 and AFC Beach Soccer Championship 2017.
The AFC U-20 Futsal Championship will take place in a centralised venue with both Iran and Thailand signaling their intent to host the inaugural competition. All 22 teams will advance into the final round of the competition, where they will be divided into four groups.
The AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2017, which has been moved from September 19-30, 2017 to August 15-26, 2017, has seen an increase in the number of entries from eight in the last edition to 13 teams. All teams will be drawn in three groups, with the group winners and the best runner-up team advancing into the semi-finals of the competition. The same competition format will also apply to the AFC Beach Soccer Championship 2017, which has also received 13 entries.
Members were also eager to establish more platforms for all Member Associations (MAs) to improve their standards of the game, delving into a comprehensive discussion to explore ways to enhance the competition calendar. Among some of the ideas explored was the possibility to introduced a new Cup Champions Club and expanding the current national competitions to include more age-groups.