The new partnership marks a major milestone as Yili becomes the first Chinese Official Global Partner of the AFC national team competitions in the current rights cycle

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) today announced its partnership with dairy giant Yili for the 2021 to 2024 rights cycle. Yili joins the AFC family as the first Official Global Partner of the AFC national team competitions from China PR and will be the exclusive sponsor in the dairy products category, the water category, and other selected beverage categories.

The agreement encompasses all major AFC national team competitions, including but not limited to the final round of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar featuring the Continent’s top-12 football nations, and Asia’s flagship national team competition – the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 – which will be played in 10 state-of-the-art venues across China PR, as well as the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 and the AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022.

As one of the top five dairy brands globally and the leading dairy company in Asia, Yili is committed to producing high quality dairy products and to promoting a healthy lifestyle for consumers through its contribution to the development of football in Asia.

As part of its comprehensive physical and digital activation rights, Yili will become the exclusive presenting partner of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 opening ceremony and enjoy prominent brand exposure through the provision of the official flag bearers of the tournament. Fans will be able to enjoy unique content like the Top Scorer Award presented by Yili in all AFC national team competitions, starting with the final round of the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar in September 2021.

Dato’ Windsor John, the AFC General Secretary, said: “The AFC is delighted to have entered into a global partnership with Yili  from 2021 to 2024.

“Today’s agreement represents a partnership between two world-class brands. The AFC’s competitions have continued to grow in stature, and I am confident that this collaboration will promote the long-term objectives of both the AFC and Yili in forging stronger relationships with our fans and consumers respectively.

“We thank Yili for their confidence and trust in Asian football and we look forward to working with Yili to ensure we continue to strengthen the game for all our stakeholders across the Continent.”

“We are delighted to become the AFC’s first official global partner from China PR,” said Zhang Jianqiu, CEO of Yili Group.

“In line with our corporate belief – “Yili means the best quality” – Yili has pledged an unwavering commitment to producing quality products and being the most trusted global healthy food provider. Since 2005, Yili has been a proud partner of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the Chinese Olympic Committee and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, providing high-quality healthy products for athletes and consumers and actively promoting a healthy lifestyle.

“Today, Yili is one of the world’s top five dairy producers and has been ranked as Asia’s leading company in the dairy sector for seven consecutive years. Yili has been servicing millions of global consumers with world-class quality nutrition products, which strongly resonates with the AFC’s ambition to promote a healthy lifestyle through football among millions of fans.

“Together with the AFC, Yili is devoted to supporting the development of Asian football by bringing professional nutritional support for athletes and providing fans with high-quality, diversified and healthy products, as well as by promoting healthy lifestyles. We believe that deep collaborations enable stronger collective outcomes. In the future, we look forward towards working closely with the AFC to inspire, nourish and light up the football dream of everyone!”

The partnership was secured by the AFC’s exclusive commercial partner Football Marketing Asia (FMA) who will manage the rights delivery and work closely with Yili and the AFC on launching a range of activation campaigns to bring fans a truly unique and exciting experience.

Patrick Murphy, Board Member and CEO at FMA, commented: “We are proud to welcome Yili as an Official Global Partner of AFC national team football. Yili is highly experienced in sports sponsorship, and it is safe to say we share huge ambitions, especially with regards to the continued growth of Asia’s number one sport in China PR.

“We also share a commitment to bring exceptional experiences to the millions of fans of AFC football. We are looking forward to collaborating with Yili’s teams through the cycle, starting immediately with the preparation for the AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar and culminating in the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.”

About the AFC

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of Asian football and one of the six Confederations making up FIFA. Established in 1954, the AFC is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and comprises 47 Member Associations. The AFC organises the AFC Asian Cup and the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, which are the flagship Continental national team competitions, while the AFC Champions League is the premier competition for Asian clubs, drawing millions of fans to the beautiful game across the length and breadth of the Continent and beyond.

About Yili

Yili ranks among the Global Dairy Top 5 and has sustained an undisputable position of No. 1 in Asia for seven consecutive years. Yili is also China’s largest dairy producer, offering the largest number of products. Thanks to its exceptional product quality, leading service capabilities and comprehensive capacity for sustainable development, Yili is well-respected and well-received among global event organisers, national and local governments and the public. Yili was selected to serve as the exclusive supplier of dairy products and services at major international events, including the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the Expo 2010 Shanghai China, the G20 2016 China, the 2019 7th CISM Military World Games, and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Yili has also become a partner of the World Economic Forum, the Boao Forum for Asia, and the World Internet Conference.

About Football Marketing Asia

Football Marketing Asia (FMA) is the exclusive commercial partner of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for the rights cycles 2021-2024 and 2025-2028. FMA is headquartered in Hong Kong S.A.R., with offices in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and China PR. FMA combines unparalleled global football experience with in-depth Asian know-how and expertise.