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2021 AFC Cup groups revealed

The groups for the 2021 AFC Cup have been revealed at a group stage draw in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After the 2020 AFC Cup was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition is set to begin with preliminary stage and play-off matches in April and May.

The groups for the 2021 AFC Cup have been revealed at a group stage draw in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

After the 2020 AFC Cup was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition is set to begin with preliminary stage and play-off matches in April and May.

Group stage matches are then scheduled to kick off on May 14 – while the final of the tournament will be played on November 26.

“The 2021 AFC Cup Group Stage will see 39 clubs competing – an increase of three from 2019 – with a newly-introduced Group for the Central Zone,” the AFC said.

“This edition will also award the winning team a place in the preliminary stage of the 2022 AFC Champions League.”

Group A (West Zone) features 2019 AFC Cup Champions Al Ahed FC from Lebanon alongside Al Hidd from Bahrain, Al Wahda from Syria and Al Nasr of Oman.

Jordan’s Al Salt, Palestine’s Balata Center, Lebanon’s Al Ansar and Jordan’s Muharraq make up Group B (West Zone).

Group C (West Zone) includes Tishreen from Syria, Al Seeb of Oman, Al Faisaly from Jordan and a play-off winner.

Group D (South Zone) is made up of ATK Mohun Bagan of India, Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings, Maziya S&RC of the Maldives and a winner from the play-offs.

Tajikistan’s Ravshan, FC Dordoi of Kyrgyz Republic and Ahal FC of Turkmenistan are in Group E (Central Zone).

The second central zone group, Group F, features FC AGMK or FC Nasaf from Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan’s Altyn Aysr, FC Khujand of Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic’s FC Alay.

Group G (ASEAN Zone) comprises of Hanoi FC of Vietnam, Indonesia’s Bali United, Boeung Ket of Cambodia plus a play-off winner.

Malaysia’s Kedah Darul Aman, Lion City Sailors of Singapore, Vietnam’s Saigon FC and a play-off winner will be placed into Group H (ASEAN Zone).

The third ASEAN Zone – Group I, features Kaya FC-Iloilo of the Philippines, Myanmar’s Shan United or Ayeyawady United, Terengganu FC of Malaysia and Geylang International FC of Singapore.

Eastern Long Lions of Hong Kong, Tainan City of Chinese Taipei, Mongolia’s Athletic 220 and Hong Kong’s Lee Man will play against each in Group J (East Zone).

Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

Football West to welcome Jamie Harnwell as new CEO

Football West has announced the appointment of Jamie Harnwell as the new Chief Executive Officer of the organisation.

Football West has announced the appointment of Jamie Harnwell as the new Chief Executive Officer of the organisation.

Harnwell will succeed outgoing CEO James Curtis, who is stepping down after spending almost six years in the role.

Harnwell has been involved with Football West for over 12 years, with his most recent position being Chief Football Officer. Prior to that, he had worked as Acting Chief Operating Officer and Head of Development.

Before joining Football West, Harnwell was the captain of A-Leagues club Perth Glory, as well as the record-appearance holder He made 256 appearances for the Glory men’s squad, where in the process he was involved in back-to-back national championships.

Football West Chairman Sherif Andrawes:

“Football West is delighted to announce Jamie Harnwell as our new CEO,” he said.

“Jamie is a real football person, from his days as a star player at Perth Glory to becoming a top coach in both the A-League Women’s and NPLWA – Men’s competitions. He has transferred the drive and dedication needed to succeed on the pitch to his roles at Football West.

“In addition, Jamie also possesses the necessary skills and vision to drive Football West forward as we continue to grow the sport in WA and we move towards the opening of the State Football Centre and the 2023 Women’s World Cup and beyond.

“Jamie has worked closely with James Curtis for a number of years, and in terms of senior management, it is great that he has been able to ‘learn on the job’ and is well placed to lead the team at Football West over what will be an exciting period for our sport in WA.

“Following an extensive nationwide search and the assessment of several excellent candidates, Jamie proved to be the stand-out. We look forward to him leading Football West in the years ahead and continuing the terrific progress achieved under James Curtis.”

Incoming Football West Chief Executive Officer Jamie Harnwell:

“It is exciting to become CEO of Football West and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

“We are the biggest team sport in the country in terms of participation and we are in a fantastic position. But there is still plenty of potential for further growth, especially here in WA.

“It has been terrific to work with James Curtis and gain invaluable experience, now I am ready to put my own stamp on the position.”

Harnwell will work together with Curtis until the latter departs from Football West on March 31, 2022.

Sky Sports extends rights to NIFL

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will be the exclusive broadcaster of Football in the region once again.

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will once again be the exclusive broadcaster of top-flight football in the region for the next three years.

The Irish League has had a long-lasting partnership with Sky over the years and the agreement will see the relationship in place until the end of the 2024/25 season.

The new agreement will see four Danske Bank Premiership fixtures and the BetMcLean League Cup final broadcast live across the UK & Ireland each season.

Northern Ireland Football Chief Executive, Gerard Lawlor:

“We sincerely thank Sky Sports for their continued backing of our game and we look forward to showcasing some of the best NI Football League matches together over the next three seasons,” he said.

“To continue to have the invaluable support of such a high-profile broadcaster shows how far our league has progressed in recent years as we bring our game to an increasing audience of loyal fans.

“The NI Football League brand is continuing to grow outside of the confines of Northern Ireland, and through Sky Sports, many football fans are now becoming more familiar with the rich history of our clubs and as well as some of the household names that have played in the Irish League.”

Sky Sports Director of Football, Gary Hughes:

“As a long-term partner to the Northern Ireland Football League, we’re delighted to extend Sky Sports’ support of the league and ensure that its entertaining action continues to be available to our customers,” he said.

“Sky Sports customers will be able to enjoy the Northern Ireland Football league alongside our ever-expanding football offering in the UK & Ireland which includes over 500 live games in 2022, from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and FA Women’s Super League as well as international action in the form of World Cup Qualifiers, and this month’s Africa Cup of Nations – placing Sky Sports as the home of live football.”

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