NNA - Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President on Friday praised the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 in Abu Dhabi for capturing the imagination of a Continent and the tournament was a reward for four years of unity and stability.
At the AFC Executive Committee meeting at the UAE capital, Shaikh Salman said: “Tomorrow we will witness the kick-off of the biggest-ever AFC Asian Cup when hosts, the United Arab Emirates, take on Bahrain.
“The AFC would like to thank the UAE Government, the Local Organising Committee - and all those involved in delivering this tournament - for their hard work during the past four years.
“History will be made with so many new initiatives for the AFC Asian Cup, which over the months have been introduced for this AFC Asian Cup.
“And on February 1, we will crown the champions of Asia after an exciting tournament and none of this would have been possible without the hard work and important contributions of so many people.
“This is the culmination of four years of not only hard work but also the unity and stability, and the reward is a tournament that will capture the imagination of the entire Continent.
“We also thank our Member Associations for their spirit of cooperation and unity as they embraced the new and successful qualifying competition. We thank them all and we look forward to a tournament that lives up to the slogan of ‘Bringing Asia Together.’ Good luck to everyone.”
More than 2.5 billion people in 55 countries will have the chance to watch the AFC Asian Cup and with 1,449 accredited journalists from all over the world – billions more will be able to read about the exploits of the record 24 teams.
The AFC’s own digital platforms will keep hundreds of millions of fans informed of events at a tournament which boasts record prize money, a record number of officials, innovations such as the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and the Additional Assistant Referee (AAR), as well as additional extra time substitutes, a new trophy and match ball.
The AFC President said: “This tournament is one which will make history and one that will be a great source of pride for the game in Asia. May the best team win.” --- The-Afc