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Malé: Club licensing managers from Maldivian football clubs were given an update on the AFC club licensing criteria, while communications and media representatives were encouraged to use communication tools to the benefit of football development in a two-day AFC workshop in Malé, the capital of the Maldives that concluded on Wednesday.

AFC Development Officer Yogesh Desai opened the workshop on Tuesday morning, explaining on the criteria for clubs taking part in AFC competitions. From the next season in 2018, it will become compulsory for clubs to implement the criteria in order to gain entry into the AFC Cup.

There were fruitful discussions between club, Member Association and AFC representatives around the preparations needed ahead of next season, as well as deadlines and other practical issues related to the national league. The AFC encouraged clubs to focus on youth team development as part of the club licensing criteria and the Football Association of Maldives offered its support for this process.

The second session of the day focused on the Club Licensing Administration System (CLAS) and how it is used as a reporting mechanism and to share information between clubs around Asia and the AFC.

On day two of the workshop, club representatives and journalists discussed media and communications matters. AFC’s Head of Media Emilia Hinkkanen led the session, which started by establishing why communications and media matter in football and how they can be utilised to the benefit of football development. The central role of communications in the AFC’s Vision and Mission for the future of Asian football was outlined and strategic communication and media operations in relation to the AFC and national league matches were discussed. The upcoming AFC national team and club competition matches in Malé in the coming weeks were used as concrete examples. 

An open discussion took place between the participants about the challenges they face when covering football news in the Maldives, one of which was the geography of the country, which comprises thousands of islands. The journalists stressed the importance of working closely with FAM and information-sharing between all parties in the small island nation was identified as essential. Addressing challenges and next steps, including possible training opportunities, were brought up at the concluding session of the day.

The next AFC competition matches to take place in the Maldives are both high-profile affairs: the Maldives national team will face Palestine in their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifying match at home on March 28 and on April 4 Maziya Sports & Recreation will play JSW Bengaluru FC in the group stage of the 2017 AFC Cup. Both matches will be played in Malé.

Photo: FAM