Maldives to host 2014 AFC Challenge Cup

Kuala Lumpur: The AFC Competitions Committee on Wednesday decided to give the hosting rights of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup to Maldives.

The committee, under the chairmanship of AFC Vice-President the UAE’s Yousuf Al Serkal, ratified the decision of the Organising Committee for AFC President’s Cup & AFC Challenge Cup to appoint Maldives as a host of the next edition of this eight-team Finals.

At the outset, AFC Acting President Zhang Jilong complimented the committee members for the growing stature of AFC competitions.

“All our competitions are growing in popularity and level of standard has also increased many folds. I would like to thank you for your contribution in this committee,” he said.

“I would like to urge you to share your knowledge and experience which will help the AFC competitions in a big way.”

Al Serkal said it was a wonderful year for AFC and its competitions as the Asian youngsters showcased their skills at the AFC U-16 and U-19 Championships.

“The future stars of Asia descended in Iran and the UAE during these two youth championships and I am sure many of the players will find places in their respective teams,” he said.

“The technical level of teams was excellent during these tournaments and I would like to congratulate the Member Associations who participated in these tournaments for their hard work.”

The committee also proposed the 2013 AFC Champions League slots to the AFC Executive Committee, which will meet on Thursday. However, the members decided to hold the final of the ACL on home and away basis next year.

The proposals from the AFC Asian Cup Task Force were presented and approved for the 2019 edition onwards. The members agreed to maintain 16-team Finals for 2019 and the winners of the AFC Challenge Cup 2016 and 2018 will no more get direct slots in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup but will have to play the play-offs with the two best remaining teams from the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers who failed to qualify for the Finals.

The committee also approved DPR Korea’s exclusion from future AFC Challenge Cups and maintain automatic qualification for top three teams from the 2015 edition in the next edition.

Taking into consideration the views of AFC Technical Committee, the members decided to maintain a format of festival for U-14 age group rather than organising AFC U-14 Championship.

The committee also approved AFC Calendar for 2013, AFC Asian Cup 2019 bidding procedure and timeline, 2014 AFC Challenge Cup regulations, 2014 AFC U-19 and U-16 Championships regulations, participation of Selangor in the 2013 AFC Cup, format for 2013 AFC Champions League and AFC Cup R16 and the final, Tajikistan clubs’ participation in the AFC Cup, Palestinian club’s participation in the AFC President’s Cup, formation of a panel to investigate match-fixing cases.

All decisions of this committee need to be ratified by the AFC Executive Committee to take effect.