2021 SAFF Championship

The 2021 SAFF Championship, known as Ooredoo SAFF Championship 2021 for sponsorship reasons,[1] was the thirteenth edition of the SAFF Championship, the biennial international men's football championship of South Asia organised by South Asian Football Federation (SAFF). Initially, it was decided to be hosted by Pakistan in 2020, but was postponed to September 2021 in Bangladesh. However, the tournament was postponed again to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Maldives as host.[2][3]

2021 SAFF Championship
SAFF Championship Maldives logo.png
Tournament details
Host countryMaldives
Dates1–16 October 2021
Teams5 (from 1 sub-confederation)
Venue(s)1 (in 1 host city)
Final positions
Champions India (8th title)
Runners-up   Nepal
Tournament statistics
Matches played11
Goals scored22 (2 per match)
Top scorer(s)India Sunil Chhetri
(5 goals)
Best player(s)India Sunil Chhetri
Fair play award Maldives
2018
2023

Host selectionEdit

On 11 April 2018, SAFF decided to allow Pakistan to host the tournament after the restoration of Pakistan Football Federation's membership by FIFA and since then it would be country's first international football tournaments.[4][5][6] However, on 15 September 2019, SAFF president Kazi Salahuddin and general secretary Anwarul Haque Helal along with representatives of seven member countries decided to host the regional tournament in Bangladesh. This was to be the last edition to be held in even years, as it was decided that the subsequent editions would be held in odd years.[7][8]

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament was postponed from its original date of 2020 to 2021,[9] and it was supposed to be held in September 2021.[10] Later, Bangladesh withdrew from hosting due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of sponsors,[11][12] after which Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli asked All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) to "initiate the process" of hosting the tournament in Nepal.[13] In July, the ANFA received an offer to host the tournament.[14][15] Meanwhile, the Football Association of Maldives submitted their bid to host the tournament.[16][17] On 9 August 2021, Maldives was declared as the hosts after an online meeting of the executive committee.[2][3]

Participating nationsEdit

The Pakistan Football Federation was sanctioned by FIFA in April 2021, hence they were ineligible to participate in the competition.[18] Bhutan initially abstained from participation as their government refused to permit the national football team to travel abroad.[19][20] However, Bhutan's withdrawal was only confirmed when the fixtures were released on 18 August 2021.[21]

Country Appearance Previous best performance FIFA ranking
16 September 2021[22]
  Bangladesh 12th Champions (2003) 189
  India 13th Champions (1993, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2015) 107
  Maldives 11th Champions (2008, 2018) 158
    Nepal 13th Third-Place (1993) 168
  Sri Lanka 13th Champions (1995) 205

SquadsEdit

For the list of squads that appeared in the tournament, see 2021 SAFF Championship squads.

VenueEdit

The National Football Stadium in capital Malé hosted all the matches.

Malé
National Football Stadium
Capacity: 11,850[23]
 

OfficialsEdit

Referees
  •   Yousif Saeed Hassan
  •   Ammar Ashkanani
  •   Majed Al-Shamrani
  •   Feras Taweel
  •   Sajëçon Zayniddinov
  •   Axrol Riskullaev
Assistant Referees
  •   Ahmed Sabah
  •   Ahmed Sabah Qasim Al-Baghadi
  •   Yaquob Al-Mutairi
  •   Omar Ali Al-Jamal
  •   Mohamad Kazzaz
  •   Farhod Kuralov
  •   Husniddin Shodmonov

Group stageEdit

After the suspension of Pakistan and the withdrawal of Bhutan, the format was changed to a single group round robin format where the top two teams advance to the final.[24]

TableEdit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1   India 4 2 2 0 5 2 +3 8 Advance to the final
2     Nepal 4 2 1 1 5 4 +1 7
3   Maldives (H) 4 2 0 2 4 4 0 6
4   Bangladesh 4 1 2 1 3 4 −1 5
5   Sri Lanka 4 0 1 3 2 5 −3 1
Source: Soccerway
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Head to Head; 3) Goal difference; 4) Goals scored[25]
(H) Host

MatchesEdit

Sri Lanka  0–1  Bangladesh
Report Barman   56' (pen.)
Referee: Feras Taweel (Syria)
Nepal    1–0  Maldives
Dangi   86' Report
National Football Stadium, Malé
Referee: Akhrol Riskullayev (Uzbekistan)

Bangladesh  1–1  India
Arafat   74' Report Chhetri   26'
National Football Stadium, Malé
Referee: Majed Al-Shamrani (Saudi Arabia)
Sri Lanka  2–3    Nepal
Report
National Football Stadium, Malé
Referee: Ammar Ashkanani (Kuwait)

India  0–0  Sri Lanka
Report
National Football Stadium, Malé
Referee: Sajëçon Zajniddinov (Tajikistan)
Maldives  2–0  Bangladesh
Report
National Football Stadium, Malé
Referee: Yousif Saeed Hassan (Iraq)

Maldives  1–0  Sri Lanka
Report
National Football Stadium, Malé
Referee: Majed Al-Shamrani (Saudi Arabia)
Nepal    0–1  India
Report Chhetri   82'
National Football Stadium, Malé
Referee: Yousif Saeed Hassan (Iraq)

Bangladesh  1–1    Nepal
Reza   9' Report Bista   88' (pen.)
National Football Stadium, Malé
Referee: Axrol Riskullayev (Uzbekistan)
India  3–1  Maldives
Report Ashfaq   45' (pen.)
National Football Stadium, Malé
Referee: Ammar Ashkanani (Kuwait)

FinalEdit

India  3–0    Nepal
Report
National Football Stadium, Malé
Referee: Majed Al-Shamrani (Saudi Arabia)

StatisticsEdit

AwardsEdit

Most Valuable Player Top Scorer Fair Play
  Sunil Chhetri   Sunil Chhetri   Maldives

GoalscorersEdit

There were 22 goals scored in 11 matches, for an average of 2 goals per match.

5 goals

3 goals

2 goals

1 goal

Source: Soccerway

Prize moneyEdit

Prize money amounts were announced in 2021.[26]

Position Amount (USD)
Champions 50,000
Runner-up 25,000
Total 75,000

Broadcasting rightsEdit

Country Broadcaster[27]
  Bangladesh T Sports
  India Eurosport[28]
  Maldives Yes TV
    Nepal Action Sports[29]
  Sri Lanka Supreme TV and Football SriLanka TV

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Zalif, Zunana (20 September 2021). "Ooredoo named title sponsor of SAFF Championship 2021". Raajje. Archived from the original on 21 September 2021. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b "South Asian Football Federation (SAFF)'s Press Release". SAFF (Press release). South Asian Football Federation. Archived from the original on 13 August 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Nepal loses the SAFF Championship hosting opportunity to the Maldives". Online Khabar English. Archived from the original on 9 August 2021. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  4. ^ "SAFF Championship 2020". Football Pakistan. 12 April 2018. Archived from the original on 2 September 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Pakistan to host SAFF Football Championship 2020". Daily Times. 12 April 2018. Archived from the original on 8 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Pakistan to host South Asia football championship and two other soccer tournaments". Arab News. 14 April 2018. Archived from the original on 6 July 2019. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Bangladesh to host SAFF Championship in Sept 2020". Prothom Alo. 16 September 2019. Archived from the original on 3 October 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  8. ^ "BD to host SAFF C'ship in Sept, 2020". The Daily Star. 17 September 2019. Archived from the original on 5 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  9. ^ "Coronavirus: SAFF Championship postponed to 2021". Goal. Archived from the original on 17 October 2020. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  10. ^ "Executive Committee Meeting (SAFF)". Archived from the original on 17 January 2021. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Football federation 'unwilling' to arrange SAFF Championship". The Financial Express. 23 July 2021. Archived from the original on 24 July 2021. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  12. ^ "BFF 'unwilling' to organise SAFF Championship". Daily Bdnews24. 23 July 2021. Archived from the original on 26 July 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  13. ^ "ANFA bid to host 13th SAFF Championship in Nepal gets Prime Minister's nod". The Kathmandu Post. Archived from the original on 9 August 2021. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  14. ^ "Nepal receive conditional offer to host SAFF Championship". ANFA. All Nepal Football Association. 25 July 2021. Archived from the original on 28 July 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  15. ^ "Nepal receives an offer to host SAFF Championship 2021". Online Khabar English. 25 July 2021. Archived from the original on 28 July 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  16. ^ Male, K. (2 August 2021). "Maldives officially submits bid to host SAFF Championship 2021". raajjee. Archived from the original on 2 August 2021. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  17. ^ "Maldives Submits Bid To Host SAFF Championship 2021". goalnepal. 31 July 2021. Archived from the original on 2 August 2021. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  18. ^ "FIFA suspends Chad and Pakistan football associations". FIFA. Archived from the original on 7 April 2021. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  19. ^ "সাফ ফুটবলে খেলবে না বলছে ভুটান" (in Bengali). Daily Prothom Alo. 1 July 2021. Archived from the original on 25 July 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  20. ^ "SAFF Championship 2021 Is In Limbo !". Goal Nepal. Archived from the original on 5 July 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  21. ^ "Nepal begin SAFF Championship against hosts Maldives". ANFA. All Nepal Football Association. Archived from the original on 18 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  22. ^ "Men's Ranking". FIFA. Archived from the original on 16 September 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  23. ^ "National Stadium Maldives". Soccerway. Archived from the original on 14 August 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  24. ^ Mukherjee, Soham (9 September 2021). "SAFF Championship 2021: Everything you need to know". Goal. Archived from the original on 13 September 2021. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  25. ^ "SAFF Championship 2021". SofaScore. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  26. ^ "SAFF Championship 2021 Awards And Winners". Sportsgrail. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  27. ^ "SAFF Championship 2021: Fixtures, Results, Telecast and more". Khel Now. Archived from the original on 1 October 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  28. ^ "Telecast details for India's matches in SAFF Championship". the-aiff.com. All India Football Federation. Archived from the original on 3 October 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  29. ^ "Nepal games in SAFF Championship to be broadcasted live in Action Sports". ANFA. All Nepal Football Association. Archived from the original on 4 October 2021. Retrieved 4 October 2021.