Recent strides bode well for Azerbaijan, where it is hoped the staging of matches at UEFA EURO 2020 has provided a catalyst for further development on and off the pitch.
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The Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan's (AFFA) 2021–25 strategy focuses on five key areas:
- Youth football
- Women's football
- Club football development
Additionally, the AFFA is working to digitalise many of its processes, with ambitious plans for a digital ecosystem incorporating an interactive football map, club licensing platforms and online football educational programmes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the association soundly guided its clubs through a difficult period and launched a protocol (in line with the UEFA Return to Play Protocol) detailing medical and organisational requirements to be followed during matches, providing financial support to clubs and the women's national team.
"We thanks UEFA for its financial support for the new stadium in Shamakhi. Such projects are catalysts for advocation, popularisation and the development of football."
It is hoped that by having hosted four matches at UEFA EURO 2020, the AFFA will be able to inspire more participation, creating a stable and sustainable club environment and improve national team performance.
UEFA's HatTrick programme, which channels EURO revenues into football development across Europe, has helped the AFFA improve its infrastructure to set the game up for success in Azerbaijan.
This support has funded the renovation of the national football technical centre in Tovuz as well as an upgrade to the Shamakhi City Stadium. The latter, which was inaugurated in November 2021, incorporates a new synthetic pitch, a 2,200-capacity main stand and new facilities for players and fans. Both projects will provide the AFFA with further opportunities to encourage participation levels in the game and use football to promote social inclusion.
Additionally, each year the AFFA is able to use UEFA funding to build around ten new mini-football pitches for public use.
UEFA Foundation for Children in Azerbaijan
Set up in 2015, the UEFA foundation uses football as a vehicle to help improve children's lives by supporting hundreds of campaigns and projects across Europe and around the world.
Azerbaijan Autism Association and CARE
In June 2021, the UEFA foundation announced 19 award winners among charities and other organisations working in support of children's rights.
In Azerbaijan, the AFFA works with two organisations, Azerbaijan Autism Association, which raises awareness of the condition within the country and provides support to families with autistic children, and CARE, which provides support and humanitarian assistance for internally displaced people, focusing on the rights of women and girls.
National team history
Date of birth: 3 April 1965
Association president since: 2008
Date of birth: 8 July 1987
Association general secretary since: 2022