AFC Turmoil

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AFC Turmoil

Postby blahblah Tue May 15, 2018 11:30 am

It has been a busy 5 days in the AFC where the Saudi's are trying to form a new regional grouping, South West Asian Football Federation, that includes all the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) members bar Nepal & Bhutan and all of the West Asian Football Federation members that are aligned to it politically. Hence the new grouping would consist of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Bahrain, Yemen, Maldives, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The headquarters are in Jeddah.

This would effectively dissolve the existing SAFF and render the WAFF ineffectual with only Jordan. Qatar, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine remaining. If it went ahead, one would assume these would join the Central Asian Football Federation (Iran already moved there in 2014).

How the AFC reacts to this overtly politicaly move, to use football to strengthen regional political divides, will be interesting.

At this stage the SAFF members are keeping their cards close to their chest, so it is unclear if they will indeed join the Saudi led bloc.

There are news releases from the SWAFF and Saudi media that suggest the new grouping will be running club & national competitions that will compete with existing AFC competitions. Those reports need to be treated with some scepticism given the early stages of SWAFF and the politics surrounding it.

The real question in the long term is if the Saudi's try to compete with the AFC, will it result in an AFC split?

More details regarding SWAFF should be available after a mooted meeting on May 25th and then a proposed general assembly following the World Cup.

Interesting times ahead for both East and West Asia.

An overview of some of the politics can be found here: https://intpolicydigest.org/2018/05/12/ ... r-pitches/
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Re: AFC Turmoil

Postby sevengoals Tue May 15, 2018 5:11 pm

Yes, very interesting.
And also quite destabilising...
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Re: AFC Turmoil

Postby blahblah Thu May 17, 2018 12:39 pm

I have seen unconfirmed reports that the 10 federations involved have received show-cause notices from the AFC.

The Indians seem to be hedging their bets as it seems the AIFF Exco was unaware and may not be so keen on the idea, not least as it will put them directly in conclict with the AFC and FIFA. Pakistan also seem coy. Without the SAFF members the entire concept has no legs.

Given Baharin are involved I cannot help but wonder what is going on in the local politics as the move would undermine Al-Khalifa as AFC President.

The Australian press seems blissfully ignorant.....nothing new there.
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Re: AFC Turmoil

Postby blahblah Fri May 18, 2018 4:28 pm

It appears the proposed meeting on the 25th of May has been postponed until after the World Cup. The move by Saudi sports authority chief, Turki Al-Sheikh, appears to be losing momentum as the various SAFF members are becoming increasingly wary.
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Re: AFC Turmoil

Postby otto62 Sun May 20, 2018 12:36 am

Not surprised at the delay. Do it now and FIFA might kick the Saudis out of the World Cup.
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Re: AFC Turmoil

Postby blahblah Sun May 27, 2018 4:55 pm

The AFC have had a meeting with all the SAFF Presidents and the entire SWAFF issue was raised. The public position appears to be that the formation of the grouping is ok as long as it both resides outside of the AFC's structure and doesn't affect negatively the existing groupings (WAFF & SAFF).

http://www.the-afc.com/news/afcsection/ ... evelopment

Given the rather overtly political rationale for the grouping I dare say the Saudi's won't be pleased that a public position has now been taken by the AFC that the SWAFF isn't to be used as a tool for isolating other AFC members or to compete in any way with the AFC.
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Re: AFC Turmoil

Postby Stuckey Mon May 28, 2018 11:13 am

Very interesting. I've always been a fan of seeing the AFC split. Although in reality the East has more to lose than the West. As the majority of WC places have gone to Eastern nations in the last few WCs.
But beyond the WC I think there is a lot to be gained from an AFC split. An East Asian confederation that included Oceania would be a excellent for club football I feel.
If a split were to happen I'd love the Champions League format to be looked at and not just copied on UEFA.
I've always felt that Champions League football is the highest level a club can play on a regular basis so it should really be shown the respect of being played on weekends. I'd love to see champions league games on a Saturday night when a big crowd and TV audience is far more likely. Then league games are shifted to mid-week instead.
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Re: AFC Turmoil

Postby blahblah Tue May 29, 2018 11:17 am

The ACL being split into two conferences until the Final has done much to alienate the two halves of the Confederation. Your idea of having ACL matches on the weekend and league matches mid-week is one that I agree with. It causes some scheduling challenges but none that cannot be overcome.

As the years progress I am becoming less adverse to a split, though still favour a unified Confederation as it stands. That said, the tight partnership of politics and football in the Gulf States does test my patience.
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Re: AFC Turmoil

Postby blahblah Wed May 30, 2018 9:54 am

Looks like the meeting is back on, May 31st. It is being reported the AFC are looking at the legal aspects, I assume to ensure the SWAFF remains an entity that does not impact upon the WAFF or SAFF, though it is hard to see how it would not.

Some of the SAFF members are more excited by this than others, perhaps due to the reported USD500,000 joining bonus they will receive.
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Re: AFC Turmoil

Postby blahblah Thu May 31, 2018 9:40 pm

No news as yet regarding the meeting in Jeddah, however the Pakistani's are sounding far more positive about the grouping. http://www.footballpakistan.com/2018/05 ... ting-dawn/

The Nepalese were invited to today's meeting and I can only assume an invitation was extended to Bhutan to ensure all SAFF members were invited.
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Re: AFC Turmoil

Postby blahblah Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:07 pm

It is going ahead, with 14 members lining up now that the AFC has given some seemingly tepid approval.

The members are shaping up to be all of SAFF (Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, India & Maldives) and those in the Middle-East aligned to Saudi politically (Saudi, Yemen, UAE, Kuwait, Iraq & Oman).

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/323967 ... join-swaff

In all the development would be good for the SAFF members who are the weakest federation in the AFC, not least through playing against stronger opposition in national competitions. The extra funding would also assist as most of the national federations are cash strapped.

I can't see the SAFF competitions lasting much longer as the focus will be on SWAFF competitions where the resources and competition are far greater. Perhaps the SAFF Championship will continue, however the junior & futsal competitions are likely to suffer. Either way the new grouping is likely to be a boost for SAFF nations.

As for the WAFF, this is where the real interest lies. The WAFF competitions will need to continue as before, primarily as many WAFF nations are not a part of SWAFF. If there is a decline in WAFF activity due to Saudi & its allies non-participation in WAFF events such as futsal, junior age competitions, womens football, then the remaining WAFF nations will need to look elsewhere. This could lead to greater participation in the Central Asia Football Federation competitions which would be the first step in a formal division of the AFC regional federation structure.

It isn't what the AFC want, however with the SAFF nations willingly engaging in SWAFF competitions more than SAFF, the SWAFF may have the momentum over time to achieve that very result.
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Re: AFC Turmoil

Postby blahblah Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:58 pm

You just can't make this stuff up.......

....so the latest problem is BeIN Sports, who happen to be Qatari and linked to Al- Jazeera, the very station near the heart of the entire Gulf crisis. It transpires that BeIN have the rights for the World Cup across the Gulf States.

"According to the Qatar media group, Arabsat facilitates satellite broadcasts by the notorious Saudi-based piracy network, cynically known as “beoutQ”.

Since October 2017, the beoutQ pirates have been selling subscriptions to ten satellite channels carrying premium live sports content stolen from beIN and other broadcasters. beoutQ set-top boxes are being openly sold in retail outlets across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other countries, and the packaging and promotional materials for the set-top boxes explicitly advertise the availability of pirated premium sports content."

https://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2018/05 ... di-piracy/

Apparently Oman are stopping people from accessing beoutQ boxes and also allow BeIN to broadcast. BeIN is blocked in Saudi and it is unclear regarding the UAE.

The UAE relented in the face of the World Cup and allowed BeIN to be broadcast in the country however it was blocked by Qatar who are demanding UAE agree to commercial terms, a move that would effectively break the economic embargo.

Just to make it all a little more complicated, the Saudi's are strongly behind the bid to have the 2022 World Cup expanded to 48 teams, a move that would mean Qatar would be unable to host on their own. In the face of such a move, Iran has said they would assist if Qatar needed more venues.

If the 2022 expansion option is to be put on the table, it will have to be at the FIFA General Assembly on June 13th in Moscow.

Whilst the Gulf region is flooded with oil and gas, goodwill appears to be in short supply.
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Re: AFC Turmoil

Postby blahblah Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:52 am

It seems the Saudi's allowing "BeoutQ" to pirate the World Cup broadcast in an effort to undermine Qatari based BeIN sports has drawn the ire of FIFA who are now pursuing legal action in Saudi Arabia. https://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/fifa ... -on-beoutq

The problem is that the Saudi's are a large player in the recent proposed football investment (the 'Nations Cup' amongst others) so I am unsure as to how vigorous FIFA will be in its pursuit or its willingness to draw parallels between BeoutQ and the Saudi government. It may be moot, as there is a chance no Saudi lawyer will be prepared to take on the case.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/07/ ... 09435.html
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Re: AFC Turmoil

Postby sevengoals Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:39 pm

This is doing my head in.
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