The AFC U-14 Festival of Football was contested recently in Doha, Qatar by 11 teams from the West Asian region. Teams from Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and hosts Qatar took part in the event. The festival also featured an AFC ‘C certificate coaching course, a referees’ course and a workshop for the head coaches of all the participating teams. A workshop for head coaches was also held during the event by Secret to Sports (S2S), an online coaching tool that supports the coaching and training of youth and grassroots footballers both in terms of quality and quantity.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) chairman Frank Lowy has announced plans to expand the A-League from its current 8 to a minimum of 12 teams. “Ultimately, we believe the A-League has the capacity to be at least a 12-team competition, but our approach needs to be prudent and planned,” said Lowy. “Expansion of the Hyundai A-League is critical to the continuing evolution and growth of football. It has to be right for football, right for the existing Hyundai A-League clubs, right for the new clubs and right for the local community.” The two Queensland cities Gold Coast and Townsville have already set the wheels in motion and, assuming they meet the required criteria, may well field a team in the 2008-2009 season.
AFC’s Vision Asia delegation recently visited Thailand’s Chonburi province to assess the current status of football and to identify appropriate goals for football development. Detailed discussions with the officials from Chonburi, including officials from the Thailand League champions Chonburi Football Club, were held during the assessment visit. Vision Asia aims to develop football at all levels in the province, ranging from improving the organisational structure, reorganising competitions and developing coaches and referees to initiating structured grassroots and youth programmes. One of the initial objectives will be to establish a football association in Chonburi.