Officials from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance (MoF) on Thursday said the Afghan government will fund the Afghan Premier League (APL) with money from the national budget and through state-owned corporations.
The APL was founded seven years ago in a move to institutionalize professional football in Afghanistan.
“It is very unfortunate to announce that private companies stopped their sponsorship of the league following the financial recession and the economic issues we witnessed over the past three years,” said APL commissioner Shafic Gawhari.
“Government, companies or perhaps some non-governmental and private organizations could come forward as sponsors so then there would be no need for government’s money; but the minister of finance has pledged to come out in support of us through the department of physical education and sports in case there is a budget deficit,” added Gawhari.
MoF spokesman Ajmal Abdul Rahimzai has confirmed this and said government will help cover APL costs.
“We will fund the Afghan Premier League as part of our commitment to develop football in Afghanistan through enterprises and government companies and in line with the resouces we have in the national budget,” he said.
The Afghan Premier League (APL) is a men's football league run by the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) and is Afghanistan’s primary football tournament.
Inaugurated in 2012, it is now in its seventh year and has over the years generated much praise and support among football fans.
Following last year’s successful tournament, and Shaheen Asmayee FC’s win, FIFA President Gianni Infantino congratulated the champions and the organizers of the competition.
In a letter to the AFC he said: “It gives me great pleasure to send my warmest congratulations to Shaheen Asmayee FC for their fourth championship title!
“This title is the result of the determination of everyone involved and my congratulations go to the players, the coach, the administration, the entire technical and medical staff, as well as the fans for this great achievement.
“On behalf of the entire football community, I would like to thank Shaheen Asmayee FC and your association for helping to spread the positive message of football.”
Eight teams participate in the APL - each representing the country’s eight main regions and preparations are already underway for this year’s tournament.