THE ASIAN Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFPRO have agreed to collaborate to mitigate the social and economic impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on professional football in the region.

In discussions last week, both organizations looked at how to safeguard public health in Asia, how to reconfigure the regional match calendar, and how to encourage social partners on a national level to reach collective agreements.

Both the AFC and FIFPRO (Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels) agreed that it is fundamental for public health to continue following the advice of government and public health officials in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The AFC and FIFPRO also share the view that players, clubs, league and federations must cooperate in a coordinated way more than ever during the pandemic and, as a result, both parties will explore setting up a stakeholder working group to meet regularly.

AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “Football will have a crucial role to play when the world returns to normality, but our priority must be the continued health and well-being of all our stakeholders — including players, officials and spectators.

“We are pleased that more than 100 players from across Asia have joined the AFC’s #BreakTheChain campaign, which promotes the World Health Organization (WHO) message of hygiene, social distancing and, where instructed staying at home. The campaign is a perfect example of how we can all work together for the good of the game and our stakeholders in such challenging times.”

FIFPRO General Secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said the global player association is concerned about the health and wellbeing of the general public, including its members, but also committed to helping AFC competitions and national leagues remain compelling when professional football resumes.

“We are pleased and reassured that during such a turbulent time for Asia and the rest of the world that the AFC will work in parallel with FIFPRO, player associations and the thousands of players we represent,” Baer-Hoffmann said.

FIFPRO and its affiliated player associations in Asia and Oceania represent professional footballers in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar and Korea Republic.