AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has congratulated Korea Republic for winning their first-ever AFC U23 Championship crown after the East Asians clinched a dramatic 1-0 extra-time victory over Saudi Arabia in a captivating final at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday.
The AFC President said: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to Korea Republic for securing their maiden AFC U23 Championship title and for showcasing incredible drive, teamwork and skill throughout the competition. We must also praise Saudi Arabia for their hard work and resilience in a riveting final.
“We must also commend the Korea Football Association and Saudi Arabian Football Federation and everyone working tirelessly behind the scenes for developing outstanding pipelines of excellence and their commitment in producing future stars of the game in Asia – many of whom I am confident will go on to grace the biggest stages in global football.
The AFC President went on to thank the local organisers and the 200-strong volunteers who played an integral role in ensuring the success of the tournament, noting: “Once again, the tournament was a great success and I would like to extend the gratitude of the Asian football family to the Local Organising Committee, Football Association of Thailand and all the volunteers for their dedication in hosting another top-class event.
“The AFC has underlined our ambitions to provide world-class opportunities for our players and teams and there is no doubt that the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 provided a worthy stage that showcased the undeniable talent that exists on our great Continent.”
The success of the tournament was also highlighted through the new engagement figures set on the AFC’s Digital platforms. The AFC’s Twitter account reached 16.5 million impressions – an increase of 58.7% from the previous edition, while the AFC’s Instagram account saw an increase of 246.9% with more than 49.6 million fans engaged.
The AFC website received 5.81 million pageviews, an increase of 52.9% from the previous edition and the AFC Facebook page also engaged 30.7 million fans and another 1.82 million fans were reached in Thai geo-targeted posts.
For the first time in the tournament’s history, the AFC also introduced its new OTT programme which saw viewership on the official AFC YouTube channel record more than 11.3 million views.
The Continental showpiece also underlined the ever-growing global appeal of the AFC’s Competitions with as many as 1,054 members of the media accredited over the 19 days across the three host cities in Songkhla, Buriram and Bangkok.
As part of efforts to embrace the latest advances in the global game, Asian football also marked a historic milestone during the tournament with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system successfully making its full debut across all 32 matches.