WAFF Intensifies it’s Administrative Activities
The West Asian Federation (WAFF) was keen to compensate for the compulsory suspension of its competitive tournaments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, by focusing on holding a series of administrative activities; whether at the level of training courses, developmental and educational workshops, or strengthening means of cooperation through many coordination meetings.
WAFF’s agenda for the year 2020 was rich in organizing tournaments at various levels and for both genders, but due to the pandemic, these events were postponed to new dates, like other federations.
The competitive activities that were postponed included the 2nd WAFF U19 Boys Championship, which was scheduled to be held in March 2020, and the 8th U16 Boys Championship, which was scheduled for next April, in addition to the 2nd WAFF Women Clubs Championship, which is scheduled to be held in May 2021, and the 3rd WAFF U15 Girls Championship (November 2020) and the 3rd WAFF U18 Girls Championship (December 2020).
The pandemic also imposed on the federation to discuss the merits of the 10th WAFF Men Championship that was scheduled to be hosted by UAE Football Association. It was decided to postpone it and to choose a new and appropriate date that considers the obligations of all Member Associations and is in line with AFC and FIFA’s agendas.
The championship would witness the participation of all 12 Member Associations of WAFF: Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Palestine, in addition to UAE, which is participating for the first time in conjunction with the association hosting the tournament for the first time as well.
Despite those stoppages of the tournaments, the federation was able to continue its regional role through administrative activity that included most aspects related to the game and for both genders, based on its usual pioneering role and its responsibility towards developing all corners of the game in the Member Associations and the region in general, which was confirmed by His Highness Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, the president of WAFF, who considered during the 10th General Assembly general that was held recently, that the pandemic stimulated the federation to make additional efforts to compensate for these pauses in a positive way that reflected on the participants in these administrative activities that were held, and served the Member Associations on the one hand and WAFF and the region in general on the other hand.
In order to stay fully informed of all developments through the current circumstances, WAFF was keen to participate in many activities through video-conference, as Khalil Al Salem attended the International Sports Convention (ISC) under the title "Covid-19 and Football - How to Shape a New Future", which was held in June 2020 and organized by the UAE Football Association in partnership with the UAE Professional League, and with a large participation of local and international sports figures and a number of international experts.
Then Al Salem participated in the Online AFC MA & RA General Secretaries Conference 2020 organized by AFC at the end of July, which witnessed the participation of a group of sports and football leaders and experts in order to exchange experiences and discuss the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions.
After that, the federation discussed with the Member Associations the developments that occurred in the joint activities, which were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Al Salem and the general secretaries of these associations held a meeting for this purpose during which the general conditions were reviewed, specifically with regard to football activities within the region, either those that have been scheduled to return or the dates proposed for that.
At the level of workshops and courses, the federation organized a Female Referees Workshop under the supervision of the international lecturer Ali Al Tarifi, with the participation of 45 female referees representing most of the Member Associations of WAFF.
It also held a workshop to prepare local general coordinators, under the supervision of FIFA and AFC match commissioner, Ali Jebril from Palestine, with the participation of about 75 coordinators who represented the vast majority of the Member Associations, in addition to organizing an educational workshop for the newly appointed FIFA 2021 referees list, with the participation of 20 referees and assistants of both genders, under the supervision of the international lecturer Ali Al Tarifi and the participation of: Ali Bujsaim, Head of the Sports Arbitration Center at UAE FA, Saad Kamil resident and a member of the AFC Referees Committee, Ismail Al Hafi, the FIFA and AFC lecturer, Awni Hassouneh, the AFC lecturer, and Zakaria Kanah, the AFC lecturer and Head of the Syria FA Referees Committee.
The federation also shed light on the Female Grassroots Programs in the continent and the region through an expanded workshop that was held with a large participation of representatives from each Member Association, including women’s football officials and other promising women.
In conjunction with this, WAFF kept the door of communication open with many federations and entities with the aim of joint coordination and discussing current and future ways of cooperation, through holding a series of periodic meetings with Member Associations and signing new agreements with various sports institutions aimed at expanding its competitive and administrative activities.
With the advent of 2021, the federation will closely monitor all developments, especially the epidemiological situation in the region, and will continue to coordinate with the Member Associations to determine the nature of their programs in an attempt to return to organizing its championships that were postponed and implementing its new agenda.