The high level meeting between WAFF, Beach Soccer Worldwide and the National FAs kick starts a new era for beach soccer in the West Asia region
Khalil Al Salem, the General Secretary of West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), announced that the federation is seeking, in cooperation with Beach Soccer Worldwide, to organize a beach soccer tournament in the region on a yearly basis.
Al Salem revealed this objective during a meeting held by WAFF on Sunday, January 17, 2021, with representatives of the beach soccer departments from the different member associations, with the presence of the President of the Beach Soccer Worldwide, Joan Cusco, Vice President, Gabino Renales, and Director of Events, Josep Ponset.
Moreover, Al Salem explained that WAFF is looking forward, starting this year, to organize the 2nd WAFF Beach Soccer Championship, after the first one held in Iran in 2013. The host country and the date of the competition will be determined at a later stage, after communicating with the member associations, with the proposal of inviting one or two teams from outside the West Asia region to participate, which will depend on the number of participating teams. In conjunction, WAFF aims to start organizing various workshops related to beach soccer.
Al Salem indicated that WAFF, within its long-term plan, seeks to discuss with the AFC the idea of approving the WAFF championship to become a qualifier for the AFC Finals.
During the meeting, the General Secretary of WAFF presented the details of the agreement signed between WAFF and Beach Soccer Worldwide, which extends for 3 years, as well as all the terms and plans it contains to activate this sector in the region. He stressed that the agreement will strengthen the efforts that will be made to raise the overall level of interest in beach soccer in the region, especially since Beach Soccer Worldwide has pioneering experiences in this field through its supervision and organization of many activities, events, and big tournaments.
Al Salem noted that the agreement provides opportunities for member associations to compete at the highest levels, in conjunction with the implementation of various development projects; it creates opportunities for players, referees, and coaches in this field, and it will eventually also allow a team from West Asia to participate in international tournaments organized by Beach Soccer Worldwide.
For his part, Joan Cusco affirmed that Beach Soccer Worldwide is very motivated to work on developing the game in the West Asian region by organizing various tournaments and administrative activities aimed at serving the member associations, in addition to coordinating with WAFF to prepare comprehensive development plans and programs and to provide knowledge and support to member associations, including developing or establishing a local league or establishing women’s teams in the region and other technical advice related to the game.
In their turn, the representatives of the member associations agreed on the importance of focusing on beach soccer and intensifying its activity in the region. In addition, they presented all the obstacles that prevented them from giving the required attention to the game, and they put WAFF in front of many demands and proposals that contribute to creating more opportunities for its development, which will positively affect the member associations themselves and the region in general.
In this regard, Al Salem stressed that the WAFF will be a major supporter of any directions and plans that contribute to the development of beach soccer, and pointed to the importance of continuious communication and joint coordination between it and the member associations, and work to achieve public interests.
The meeting was attended, in addition to the representatives mentioned earlier of Beach Soccer Worldwide, by each of: Muhammad Ashour from the Bahrain Football Association, Subhi Abdul Nabi, Chairman of the Beach Soccer Committee at Iraq Football Association, Abdul-Mohsen Al-Muammar, Director of the Beach Soccer Team at Saudi Arabia Football Federation, Dr. Muhammad Bou Abbas, a member of the Beach Soccer Committee at Kuwait Football Association, and Vahram Barsoumian, Chairman of the Beach Soccer Committee at Lebanon Football Association, Talib Hilal, Head of the Beach Soccer Department at Oman Football Association, Salah Abu Al-Ata, Chairman of the Beach Soccer Committee at Palestine Football Association, Abdulaziz Al-Ansari, Beach Soccer Officer at Qatar Football Association, Yasser Al-Baradei, Director of Futsal and Beach Soccer Department at Syria Football Association, Ali Al-Badwawi, Head of the Beach Soccer Committee at UAE Football Association and Muhammad Al-Sayyari from Yemen Football Association.
AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup in Thailand, cancelled
On another note, and in a communication to the National FAs of the region, AFC announced that the AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup will not take place in 2021. Consequently, the AFC teams to take part at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2021 will be decided during the coming months following the confederation’s regulations.