Partnership Elevates Asian Football

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The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Canal+ Group have recently entered into a partnership agreement for the 2025-2028 cycle, extending to the AFC Asian Qualifiers™ and AFC club competitions until the 2028/2029 season.
This partnership brings together the AFC, the governing body of Asian football, and Canal+ Group, a major global player in content creation and distribution.
As part of the agreement, Canal+ Group’s local platform in Vietnam, K+, will become the exclusive media rights holder for all AFC competitions in the country. K+ is a joint venture between VTV, the leading national public broadcaster, and Canal+ International.
Established in 2009, K+ will now hold exclusive broadcast rights for AFC competitions, covering both club and national team events, including the AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™.
The objective of this partnership is to provide extensive exposure to AFC’s competitions in Vietnam. In addition to exclusive coverage on K+, selected men’s senior national team matches and the AFC Asian Cup™ 2027 final will be broadcast on free-to-air television, ensuring broad reach among Vietnamese viewers.
Canal+ Group’s acquisition of the AFC’s competition rights adds to K+’s existing coverage, which includes prestigious sporting events such as Formula One, UFC, ATP, Australian Open, and LIV Golf. The group has been broadcasting the Premier League since 2010.
The AFC General Secretary, Datuk Seri Windsor John, expressed his delight in the agreement and highlighted the significant development of football in Vietnam.
He emphasized the AFC’s commitment to enhancing the consumption and reach of their world-class competitions in the country.
Manuel Rougeron, Executive Vice-President APAC for Canal+ International, also expressed enthusiasm about providing Vietnamese fans with the best of Asian football.
He emphasized the unmatched quality standards offered by Canal+ Group and its dedication to delivering premium content.
Patrick Murphy, Board Member and CEO at Football Marketing Asia (FMA), the exclusive commercial partner of AFC, expressed excitement about the partnership as well.
He affirmed Canal+’s ability to provide premium content and unrivaled access to Asian football for millions of passionate fans in Vietnam.
The AFC, founded in 1954 and headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is the governing body of Asian football and one of FIFA’s six Confederations. It organizes prestigious competitions such as the AFC Asian Cup™, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup™, and the AFC Champions League™.
With 47 Member Associations, the AFC plays a pivotal role in promoting and developing football in Asia.
Canal+ Group, a subsidiary of Vivendi, is recognized globally for its content creation and distribution. Operating in over 50 countries, Canal+ has 25.5 million subscribers and is known for its production and marketing of television channels, including major thematic channels and content platforms like Netflix, Disney+, Paramount+, and Apple TV+.
Football Marketing Asia (FMA), the exclusive commercial partner of AFC, will work alongside Canal+ Group to bring the best of Asian football to passionate fans across Vietnam.
This partnership between the AFC and Canal+ Group is expected to enhance the consumption and popularity of Asian football in Vietnam, contributing to the growth of the sport in the region.
In addition to this exciting partnership, the AFC Referee Academy has recently celebrated a significant milestone with the graduation of 34 participants from Batch 2018. Since its establishment in November 2017, the AFC Referee Academy has been dedicated to advancing world-class refereeing in Asia.
The Academy has played a crucial role in nurturing top refereeing talent, with 157 referees, both men, and women, from 36 AFC Member Associations benefitting from its robust curriculum. Currently, 57 referees from the Academy are registered on the FIFA international list, and 16 of them are from the graduating Batch of 2018.
Congratulating the graduates, AFC General Secretary Datuk Seri Windsor John commended their determination, adaptability, and commitment to excellence.
These qualities align with the AFC’s Vision and Mission of producing world-class match officials capable of officiating at the highest level.
Equipped with a comprehensive program that encompasses practical, theoretical, and classroom sessions on technical education and fitness, the graduates are now among the finest match officials in Asia.
The pioneering course began in November 2018 with an Introductory Module at the AFC House, followed by Intermediate Level modules and online sessions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Academy adapted to the challenges by utilizing technological advancements, such as Zoom sessions, to continue delivering classroom-style lectures.
The curriculum of the Academy has been revamped over the years, introducing tools, processes, and topics like Game Empathy & Understanding, Sports Psychology, and Body Language to further enhance the referees’ skills and knowledge.
In 2022, onsite modules resumed, combining onsite and virtual learning in a hybrid model. The final onsite module took place in February, providing the referees with a final opportunity to meet and learn together as a group.
By establishing the AFC Referee Academy in 2017, the AFC became the first Confederation to dedicate an academy to referees, demonstrating its commitment to ensuring that Asia’s match officials continue to officiate on the world’s biggest football stages.
The AFC Referee Academy’s continuous commitment to excellence and the development of referees has solidified its position as a driving force in world refereeing, raising the standards and performance of match officials in Asian football.

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