The AFC Competitions Committee, which met under the chairmanship of the UAE’s Yousuf Al Serkal, decided to maintain their previous decision on the new format of the AFC’s national teams’ competitions.
The members agreed on the principles of quality of competitions and development of football in Asia.
The discussion centred around the proposal of separating the qualifications for the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup Finals into the East and West zones.
The qualification rounds for FIFA World Cup qualifiers and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers will be merged for the preliminary round. Depending on the number of entries, the Member Associations will be divided into eight groups, five teams of eight groups after preliminary stages. The eight group winners and four second best teams among all groups will qualify for the FIFA World Cup final round of qualifiers and also the AFC Asian Cup finals. Presently, only ten teams battle it out in the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The next best 24 teams from the preliminary qualification round (24 teams) will compete for the remaining slots in the AFC Asian Cup finals in six groups of four teams each.
The final rounds of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers and AFC Asian Cup qualifiers will be separated.
The committee also decided to put into regulation the current practice of Asian hosts of future FIFA competitions competing in the Asian qualifiers in order to prepare them better for the FIFA competition,even though they have an automatic entry.
Jordan will host the 2016 FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup, India and Korea Republic will host the 2017 editions of the FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cups respectively. Meanwhile Japan is set to host the 2020 Olympic football competition.
It was also decided to regulate the match orders for teams playing in home-and-away matches involving three teams in a group. Further study was requested for the format involving six teams in a group. The members also approved the club competitions format for 2015, and discussed club competitions regulations update proposals.
All decisions of this committee need to be ratified by the AFC Executive Committee to take effect.