AFC President  praises health professionals, AFC associations for outstanding responses to COVID-19

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa

By Habib Toumi

Kuala Lumpur: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has praised the outstanding contributions of the frontline health professionals, carers and responders for their tremendous endeavors to help and protect communities across Asia and the world.

In a statement posted by AFC, Shaikh Salman also praised the work of the AFC’s member associations and the contribution of players and officials during this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed numerous lives across the globe.

“In these uncertain times, we look to our health professionals more than ever and I am so proud at the way so many health workers, doctors, and medical personnel as well as first responders have selflessly put aside concerns for their own well-being to save the lives of others,” the AFC President said.

“In football, we are used to seeing words such as heroes or stars, but at this time the real heroes and stars are those who have worked so tirelessly to save and heal their communities and to protect their countries. These are the real-life heroes and deserve our gratitude.”

The AFC is proud to be working with international agencies, such as the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent and the United Nations who are on the frontline and making such important contributions, he added.

”In the coming days, the AFC will be announcing further initiatives to assist these organisations and, in turn, the communities they support. Our motto is: Football Cares and there is no better time in the world’s history for the AFC to demonstrate this.”

The AFC President also thanked the AFC’s member associations for their response to the current crisis.

“Our Members are integral parts of their communities and I have been proud of the way they have freely contributed to benefit their people. Whether it be by donating hospital beds, providing much-needed food, using their AFC Dream Asia Award prize money to come up with schemes for either their or other countries and by partnering, like the AFC, with global NGOs, the response has been exceptional,” Shaikh Salman, a Bahraini national, said.

“And at the same time, players and officials have freely given their time to stress the World Health Organization’s (WHO) advice as a part of the AFC’s #BreakTheChain #StayAtHome campaign. We had more than 50 Asian football icons willing to take part in the first 48 hours, which was extremely heart-warming.

These players and officials are repeating the key messaging of maintaining the most stringent standards of hygiene and social distancing, staying at home and adhering to the many Governments who have introduced travel and movement restrictions, he said.

Last week, Shaikh Salman expressed the AFC wish in these unprecedented and challenging times that all members of the Asian football community remain safe and healthy.

“Football will have an important role to play in the weeks and months ahead as the world returns to normality, but now our focus is firmly on protecting the well-being of all those who are involved in our great game,” he said.

“Each of you, in varying degrees, have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and many of your Governments have taken swift and strong action to prevent its spread and limit its impact on your communities including partial lockdown or restricting movement.”

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