Fans of China's Shanghai SIPG celebrate for goal during the second round of 1/8 finals against Japan's FC Tokyo at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Champions Legaue in Shanghai, May 24, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]
BEIJING - The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has entered into an agreement with China's DDMC Sports International Ltd and Fortis Sports AG for the AFC's commercial rights, according to the AFC official website on Tuesday.
The contract covers all the 2021-2028 games including the Asian Cup, World Cup qualification in Asia and the AFC Champions League. DDMC is a Chinese listed company whose businesses cover culture, sports and entertainment.
"The new rights agreement will now secure the financial future of our member associations as well as help the AFC further enhance our competitions and development programs," the AFC President Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa said.
"It's the first time that Chinese companies dominate the world's top sports (intellectual property) IP exclusive media rights and business interests development," Yi Rentao, chairman of DDMC, said.
Sheikh Salman also reflected on the progress that has been made by Asian football, thanks to the unity of purpose that has existed in the game during the last five years.
He went on to say that with the tournament being played in Russia, it's an important time for AFC teams to show what they are capable of, especially Saudi Arabia, who will face hosts Russia in the World Cup opener.
"Asian football has made and continues to make giant strides. With this new commercial rights deal, Asian football will stand proud on the world stage as the continent becomes the focal point for the global game," Sheikh Salman added.