The AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023’s Local Organising Committee announced yesterday its decision to dedicate the proceeds of ticket sales to aid relief initiatives in occupied Palestine. The decision aligns with the principle that “football fosters social development,” said the committee.
Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani is the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the tournament. He emphasised the significance of expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people and extending crucial support and assistance to them.
“We have decided to donate ticketing revenue generated from the Asian Cup in Qatar to much-needed relief efforts in Palestine,” said the Emir. “We will be certain that this corporate social responsibility initiative will benefit those most affected, and that football fulfils its role as a support mechanism for people during the most difficult of times.”
This initiative comes after UNRWA revealed that the number of displaced individuals in the Gaza Strip has reached approximately 1.7 million since 7 October. “As of 19 November,” said UNRWA, “nearly 930,000 internally displaced persons are now sheltering in 156 UNRWA installations across all five governorates of the Gaza Strip, including in the north. Nearly 770,000 IDPs are sheltering in 99 facilities in the Middle, Khan Younis and Rafah areas.”
The agency warned that overcrowding is leading to a significant spread of diseases. “These include acute respiratory illness and diarrhoea, which raises environmental and health issues, and limits the agency’s ability to provide services.”
Israel launched air strikes and then a ground incursion after the 7 October attack by Palestinian resistance group Hamas. The occupation state has since killed more than 13,300 Palestinians, of whom 5,600 were children, and 3,550 were women. Moreover, civilian infrastructure has been destroyed by Israel while it also enforces a full blockade leading to a shortage of basic essentials such as food, fuel and medicines.
The Palestine national football team qualified for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup tournament after defeating the Philippines in their last group stage match. Palestine won the match 4-0 at the Sports Centre Stadium in Mongolia. The team ended the group stage with nine points having beaten Mongolia 1-0 in the campaign opener and then scoring five goals to beat Yemen.
Qatar is preparing to host the AFC Asian Cup for the third occasion, having previously served as the host in 1988 and 2011. The tournament will feature twenty-four top teams from Asia competing for the championship, with a total of 51 matches scheduled to be held across nine stadiums from January 12 to February 10, 2024.