Here are the top stories in the Asian football industry over the past week.
Qatar to participate in UEFA Qualifying Group for 2022 World Cup
Hosts of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar, will be placed in Group A of the UEFA Qualifying Group which begins in March of next year.
“Qatar will join Group A alongside Portugal, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan,” the Qatar Football Association (QFA) said in a statement.
“As the next FIFA World Cup host nation, Qatar has already qualified for the tournament -meaning any results involving Qatar will not count towards qualification.
“Qatar will play its ‘home’ matches in Europe in order to allow short travel times for their opponents,” the QFA concluded.
Qatar will play the side with a rest day in each round of matches.
The decision was made on the basis that it would give the Asian country match preparation for the upcoming World Cup in November, 2022.
The Maroons have previously joined competitions that are staged outside of their own federation (AFC), including the Copa America last year.
Migu to share 2022 World Cup rights with CCTV
Migu, a subsidiary of Chinese telecommunications group China Mobile, has secured a deal to share the rights to air live and on-demand coverage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The streaming platform will share the digital coverage of events with Chinese broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), with Migu having also struck a sub-licensed deal with the company to show next year’s UEFA EURO tournament.
The acquisition of the rights continues the company’s recent strategic investment into sporting content.
Last month, Migu signed a four-year deal with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), which includes the right to showcase the 2023 Asian Cup, the 2022 World Qualifiers, the AFC Champions League and more on their streaming service.
A similar sub-licensing deal between Migu and CCTV was organised for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Northern Mariana Islands become 47th full Member Association of the AFC
During the AFC Congress held during the week, Northern Mariana Islands were voted in as a full member of the Asian Football Confederation.
President of the AFC, Shaikh Salman, stated at the congress: “We are proud to welcome the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association as the newest ordinary member of the AFC family. Under the leadership of NMIFA President Jerry Tan, I have no doubts that the game will continue to scale greater heights.”
AFC competitions to be broadcast for the first-time in South Eastern Europe
The AFC announced throughout the week that United Media Sàrl will be their new media partner in Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2021-2024.
The deal will cover the AFC’s major national team and club competitions such as the Champions League and the 2023 Asian Cup.
United Media Sàrl is part of the United Media Group, which is a leading media company in South Eastern Europe.
The company’s Sportklub channels will showcase the wide selection of Asian matches.
Dato’ Windsor John, the AFC General Secretary, said of the deal: “We are pleased with this exclusive partnership which brings the AFC Competitions to Southeast Europe for the first time. We are confident that Sportklub will bring AFC competitions closer to millions of fans in the region. This deal demonstrates the value of the AFC’s competitions not only in Asia but beyond and we thank United Media Sàrl for the confidence they show in the future of Asian football by entering into this agreement.”
Nemanja Simeunovic, CEO of the Sportklub channel operation stated: “I am enthusiastic about the addition of the AFC competitions to our portfolio of rights. The AFC competitions will fit perfectly in the outstanding programme line up within the three main pillars of programming: football, basketball and tennis.
“The AFC competitions will be taken very seriously as all our programmes have extensive promotion, professional and sports-fanatic commentators with fantastic news studios several times per day.”
Patrick Murphy, Board Member and CEO at Football Marketing Asia, said: “We are delighted to bring in United Media Sàrl as another valued media partner in Europe. We are confident that United Media Sàrl will further strengthen the presence of high-quality Asian football in Europe with its partner’s top-notched services.”