08 Apr 2021  |   04:48am IST

AFC CL: State govt gives nod to late kick-off

Team Herald

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PANJIM: With just a week to go for the Asian Football Confederation Champions League group matches commence in the State, the AFC gets the nod from the State government for the revised late kick-off.

According to a senior official from All India Football Federation the move was initiated since the other teams -- Al Rayyan (Qatar), Persepolis (Iran) and Al Wahda (UAE)/Al Zawraa (Iraq) were coming from Muslim dominated nations and having maximum Muslim players, the request was made to the Goa Football Association to seek necessary permissions to host the matches at a revised considering the event coinciding with the month of Ramadan.

 “As the Competition coincides with the month of Ramadan, we have requested for the kick-off times of each match day to be scheduled at 2000 hrs and 2230 hrs local time. However, we have been informed that for the matches to kick-off at 2230 hours, the local government’s approval is required given the situation with the pandemic,” the AFC wrote in their letter to GFA President Churchill Alemao.

Speaking to Herald, GFA President Churchill Alemao stated, “I had received a letter from AFC requesting in getting the necessary permission from the State government and knowing the importance of this event in the State, I had a quick meeting with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant this afternoon who agreed to grant AFC the necessary permissions to the AFC.”

“I thank the CM for helping GFA, AIFF and AFC and we hope this sporting event is a success in Goa. As the president of GFA, I shall ensure to help AIFF and AFC in smooth organising of the event. I also thank Churchill Bros CEO Valanka Alemao for coordinating with AIFF, AFC and the State government and getting done the facilitation process.”

Churchill further added that the message of Sawant’s approval was conveyed and notified to AIFF President Praful Patel and AFC Secretary Datto Windsor John.

The AFC has assured to GFA and the state that they would take every effort to ensure that all the necessary procedures during the Competition period are strictly adhered to by all stakeholders. Furthermore, all matches will be played behind closed doors, as already agreed with the relevant government authorities and the AIFF.