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Two state-of-the-art mini pitches built by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) were inaugurated by the AFC President, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek on Monday.

The Mini Pitch Scheme, launched in June 2014, is part of the AFC President’s Initiatives for development of Asian Football and the programme will see four pitches built in Kyrgyzstan, two in the capital and two in the Osh Region.

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “I am delighted that the AFC can concretely support grassroots and community football through the AFC Mini Pitch Scheme. Proper facilities and access to them is a challenge in many Member Associations and these pitches will bring the joy of football to children and adults across Asia. In addition, they can also generate vital income, as is the case here in Kyrgyzstan.”

Between 2015 and 2016, the scheme will benefit 15 AFC Member Associations’ football development, increasing the number of available facilities across the continent. In addition, the mini pitches will:

  • Boost player development through small-sided games
  • Have social and community benefits
  • Enhance relationships between various football stakeholders

The AFC’s initial funding is intended to encourage further investment by other football stakeholders, multiplying the benefits for the larger football community. The mini pitch initiative has also allowed the FFKR to set up a creative development programme that will support their regional football associations.

President of the Football Federation of Kyrgyz Republic Semetei Sultanov said: “The AFC’s Mini Pitch Scheme has made a very valuable contribution to football in our country. The income from the two pitches in the Osh Region will enable us to develop football in the regions, funding the development activities of our regional football associations. That is crucial for our overall football development plan for the country.”

Under the FFKR’s plan, the funding for the regional football associations will come from income generated through pitch rentals, event organisation and sponsorship around the mini pitches. Such innovative solutions were part of the reason why the FFKR was awarded the AFC Aspiring Member Association of the Year in 2014.

All mini pitches built under the AFC President’s Initiatives are equipped with 3G artificial turf, two high quality futsal goals, strong surround fencing, a roof net and floodlights. The floodlights allow the pitches to be used during the hours of darkness, substantially increasing football-playing and income generation opportunities.