The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed that the Jordan Football Association (JFA) will host the upcoming AFC Women’s Club Championship – Pilot Tournament, in a milestone decision which marks the first time a Continental women’s club competition will take place in West Asia.
In addition, the four participating clubs have also been confirmed with host side Amman Club, FC Bunyodkor from Uzbekistan, Islamic Republic of Iran’s Shahrdari Sirjan and Gokulam Kerala FC from India scheduled to compete for Continental supremacy from November 7 to 12, 2021 at the Aqaba Development Corporate Stadium in the country’s capital of Amman.
The selection of Jordan as host marks another significant milestone for the development of women’s football in the country after becoming the first West Asian nation to host the AFC Women’s Asian Cup – the Continent’s flagship women’s national team competition – in 2018, following the highly successful staging of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2016.
Launched in 2019, Japanese side Nippon TV Beleza were the first side to win the inaugural pilot women’s club tournament in Yongin, Korea Republic, after emerging ahead of China PR’s Jiangsu Suning Ladies Football Club, host club Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels and Australia’s Melbourne Victory.
Due to the travel restrictions and logistical challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no host interest from the Clubs in the East and the AFC will announce the following steps in due course.
The pilot editions represent a pivotal part of the AFC’s ambitions to lay the foundations for the development and professionalism of Asian women’s football clubs and to ensure the optimum preparation for the impending launch of the inaugural AFC Women’s Champions League in 2023.
To achieve that aim, the Club Licensing process, which has served as a game-changing tool for the men’s club game over the last decade, has also commenced as a pilot project for women’s clubs this year, with the regular cycle to begin from 2022 onwards.