— Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President, on Friday attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the National Centre for Iranian Football in Tehran, the capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The AFC President visited the new centre on his arrival in Tehran where he will also watch the AFC Champions League Final second-leg between Persepolis and Japanese side Kashima Antlers, who hold a 2-0 lead after the first leg a week ago.

Shaikh Salman said: “I am delighted to be at this ground-breaking ceremony for the National Centre for Iranian Football and I hope to return in two years’ time to open the completed building.

“Iranian football is consistently the leading force in Asia and this building will help them create even stronger national teams – both men and women – in the future. I am particularly pleased that the AFC President’s Infrastructure fund has helped finance a new dormitory for women players.”

The National Centre for Iranian Football brings together the Headquarters of the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI), the Iranian League, the futsal development, women’s football and the national academy on one complex close to the Azadi Stadium.

FFIRI President Mehdi Taj thanked the AFC President for attending the ceremony and said: “This centre is extremely important for football in our country. Before, the various offices and centres were scattered across Tehran and now we will all gather in one place.

“I am grateful to Shaikh Salman, who has been a great supporter of the development of football not only in Asia but also here in the Islamic Republic of Iran. With Shaikh Salman’s assistance we expect to complete the project within two years.”

Under the AFC President’s Infrastructure Initiative, the women’s three-floor dormitory will be built at the National Football Centre which will provide more than 40 rooms and other facilities for around 70 players.

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