October 20 – The final group qualifiers to fill the remaining 11 slots for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 will now be played as single round robin ties at centralised venues.
The AFC took the decision to reschedule the China 2023 qualifying structure in light of the continuing issues and challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic across the region, and difficulties with different travel and quarantine requirements between countries.
The AFC has set the three match days for the qualifiers as being June 8, 11 and 14, 2022. The confederation said it will open a host bidding process to all participating member associations in due course.
“The decision was taken by the AFC Executive Committee after taking into consideration the existing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, while prioritising the safety and wellbeing of all stakeholders in the lead-up to the Finals of Asia’s premier men’s national team tournament, which will be held in China PR from June 16 to July 16, 2023,” said the AFC in a statement.
The AFC said that host bids for the final groups will need “to ensure adherence to the highest health and safety protocols and standards” and include minimum travel and quarantine restrictions for all participating teams, as well as convenience of flight connections to the host country, the medical situation in the host country, sufficient venues to organise the matches and mandatory COVID-19 test to be organised for all players and officials.
To date 13 nations have qualified for the China 2023 final tournament – including holders Qatar and hosts China – with the final group stages to decide the 11 remaining places.
There are 24 teams remaining in the final round of group qualifying, with Indonesia and Cambodia being the last two teams to fill the pool that will be drawn into six groups of four.
The full list of the teams participating in the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Qualifiers Final Round (excluding Indonesia and Cambodia) are listed below.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org