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New Fifa push to develop football in South West Asia

DUBAI, June 2, 2018

Soccer's world governing body Fifa is set to establish a new body for football in the South West Asian  region in line with its plans to develop the 'world's most popular game' in the frontier football nations and help more nations to qualify for World Cup events. 
 
The 13 founding members of the South West Asian Football Federation (SWAFF) are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Maldives, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait, and UAE.
 
"We want to see more nations from the region represented at leading international football events including the World Cup and to become a major presence in world football scene," remarked Dr Adel Ezzat, the president and chairman of Saudi Arabian Football Federation.
 
Planning is underway to help boost the sporting, community and commercial potential of the game in South and West Asia, said a top official at a key meeting of the presidents of football federations in South and West Asia in Jeddah on Thursday. A senior Fifa official was also present at the meeting as an observer for Swaff. 
 
The new organisation has been designed to improve the quality of football for people of all ages, genders and levels of ability in the region, and marks the next stage in the evolution of world football.
 
"The nations of South and West Asia want to work with each other to grow football in the region, and to compete on a more equal playing field at future World Cup competitions and international tournaments," remarked Dr Adel Ezzat, the president and chairman of Saudi Arabian Football Federation.
 
The kingdom, he stated, was committed to help grow and resource football in the new region.
 
Saudi Arabia is the only nation in the region to reach the Finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and is scheduled to play Russia in the opening game of world football's showcase event, he added.
 
The new body plans to work with partners, governments, federations and other interested parties in the region to establish new football facilities, academies, and competitions, which will be developed in harmony and in collaboration with FIFA, AFC, and Football Federations within South and West Asia, and within existing football structures, schedules and commitments.
 
"When we spoke about governance, FIFA is really supporting and encouraging such initiatives, Gianni (Fifa President Gianni Infantino), by himself also welcomed the initiative," remarked Abdulla Aljunaibi, vice-president of the UAE football federation.
 
The historic meeting heralds the dawn of a new era to build football's competitiveness and capacity in the sports-oriented countries of South and West Asia, he added.-TradeArabia News Service



Tags: Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | India | Fifa | Football |

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