ASEAN Football Federation President Major General Khiev Sameth today commended AFF’s 12 Member Associations and the AFF Secretariat for acting decisively and effectively in managing the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the first-ever virtual AFF Congress 2019 today, General Sameth commented: “Since the onset of this pandemic, AFF worked closely with our Member Associations to enhance their readiness and capability to withstand disruption from a financial, operational and strategic standpoint. We had among other things developed a Covid-19 manual to assist our members mitigate actual or potential issues in their countries.”
“I want to commend our MAs together with the AFF Secretariat for acting decisively and taking the necessary measures to manage this pandemic. These are unprecedented times, but I am confident that we will weather this storm and prevail,” General Sameth said.
The pandemic severely impacted the region, with MAs rescheduling or cancelling their national leagues and activities. AFF was also affected as this year’s competitions were cancelled while the prestigious AFF Suzuki Cup was rescheduled to April next year. “We are confident conditions will improve soon and we can get back to organising competitions and activities again. The recent announcement on the vaccines is great news and provides hope we may see a restart of competitions sooner.”
General Sameth said one of the other things AFF had done was to partner QFA to organise the two-day workshop entitled Bouncing Back from Covid-19. This collaboration with QFA is the result of a strategic partnership between AFF and Qatar FA. AFF will be organising similar workshops and programmes for the benefit of the members.
Meanwhile, the AFF President praised the youth teams, especially the six nations that qualified for the AFC U19, and the spectacular AFF Awards ceremony in Hanoi last year.
General Sameth also applauded the secretariat, headed by AFF General Secretary Winston Lee, for the improvements that have significantly enhanced the management and commercial value of AFF.
“We focused on professionalising AFF including our competitions portfolio review, strategy development, commercial drive, productivity improvement, technology enablement, internal governance and resource optimization. AFF will continue to adopt a pragmatic approach and analyse the way our football business is structured and operates to serve our stakeholders including Member Associations better.”
FA President, Mariano V. Araneta Jr., echoed the sentiments of General Sameth on an improved and professional secretariat. “Besides professionalising the secretariat, which is reflected in the commercialisation of AFF football assets and AFF’s forward-looking management, AFF General Secretary Winston Lee has also been helping Member Associations in strategic and key operation matters. As a result, our stakeholders, including the Member Associations, sponsors and broadcast partners are very pleased.”
Another FA President, Viphet Sihachakr, wants the AFF secretariat to continue setting the standard and assisting the MAs. “General Sameth has done an exemplary job and has lived up to his promise of bringing improvement to AFF and its members. The strategic partnerships and enhanced relations with the relevant stakeholders will pave the way for better things for all AFF members. We also applaud the secretariat for its excellent efforts in realising the president’s vision and ensuring the good work of the AFF continues.”
Representatives, including Presidents and General Secretaries, all attended today’s virtual AFF Congress 2019 which was conducted by AFF General Secretary Winston Lee. This is the first time in the history of the AFF that the Congress is being staged online.