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AFC President Mohamed bin Hammam recently laid the foundation stone for Bangladesh’s first artificial turf pitch at an elaborate ceremony near Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) House in Dhaka. Bin Hammam stressed that the artificial turf at Arambagh Balurmath, which is located next to the federation headquarters in Motijheel and is part of FIFA’s Goal Programme, would be completed by the end of 2007. He also said that the AFC and FIFA would continue to support the country and urged the BFF to repair any rifts that might hinder the development of the game in the long run. During his visit, Bin Hammam also met the country’s army chief and national sports council chairman General Moeen U Ahmed to discuss the development of football.
Bin Hammam also recently met Chelsea CEO Peter Kenyon at AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to discuss the extension of the Premier League club’s support for the AFC’s football development programme, Vision Asia, to India. Chelsea signed a four-year partnership with the AFC last year to become the confederation’s official football development partner in China and have since helped to launch four city leagues.
The draw for the second round of AFC Asian Cup 2011 qualifiers will take place in Doha on 3 July, while the draw for the final competition will be held in May 2010, also in the Qatar capital. The campaign for the 15th edition of the continent’s premier football tournament began in Beirut on 9 April, when Lebanon took on the Maldives in the first leg of the only first-round match. At the next AFC Asian Cup, hosts Qatar will be joined by defending champions Iraq, 2007 runners-up Saudi Arabia, and third-place finishers Korea Republic as well as the winners of the 2008 and 2010 AFC Challenge Cups.