Hammam declares Asian Cup 2007 a 'turning point'

Asian Football Confederation President Mohamed bin Hammam has hailed the AFC Asian Cup 2007 as ushering in a new era in regional football. He called the tournament played across four countries a turning point for South-East Asia in particular, with three of the four host country teams – Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam – exceeding expectations. “After long and hard preparation we have enjoyed three weeks of really entertaining football that has achieved the largest media platform in AFC’s history,” he told a meeting of the organisers reported by AFP. “I am impressed with how the local organising committees overcame the challenges, and I am sure that we have established a new era in terms of organising our competitions, which will impact on future Asian Cups.”

Hammam said one of the biggest plus points had been the way the host countries had coped. “This event will hopefully be a turning point for football in the four venues and South-East Asia in general in terms of performance of their national teams, organisation of football competitions, and fan support,” he said.