KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Football as a sport will rebound in 2022 following a strong recovery in 2021 from the COVID-19 pandemic, delegates at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) heard on Saturday.
AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said the sport is recovering "slowly but surely" following the uncertainty of 2020, and emerging stronger than ever from the pandemic, he said in his welcoming remarks for the 31st AFC Congress held virtually in Manama, Bahrain.
"Slowly but surely, thanks to the unity of the AFC's members, Asian football continues to emerge stronger from its darkest hour and now we are well positioned to seize the vast opportunities ahead of us."
"The coming years will be a crucial period for the AFC and its members as Asia will be at the centre of world football," he said.
Sheikh Salman congratulated Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia for winning the AFC Champions League title for a record fourth time and complimented the Saudi Arabian Football Federation for hosting the final in Riyadh.
On the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Shaikh Salman reinforced the support of the Asian football family towards Qatar in delivering on the resounding faith of global football, as the continent prepares to host the tournament for only the second time in its history.
The AFC president also highlighted the recent decisions ratified by the AFC Executive Committee to enhance the capabilities of AFC member associations and regional associations, further underlining the strong foundations built by the AFC and its members in the last eight years to propel and uplift the standards of Asian football across all levels.
The Congress also approved the audited financial accounts for 2020, and the AFC budgets for 2021 and 2022 as well as the appointment of the AFC's external auditors for the term from December 2021 to December 2024.