Days before the FIFA World Cup is set to kick off, the AFC’s executive committee has deliberated on its proposal to review the qualification process for Asian teams in future editions of the global game’s showpiece event.
Under the chairmanship of Asian Football Confederation President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the executive committee reconfirmed its decision to review the formats of the World Cup qualifiers and the qualifiers for the continent’s flagship competition — the Asian Cup.
As announced following an AFC Competition’s Committee meeting in January, the wide-ranging proposals aimed at ensuring more members associations have the opportunity to participate at the highest level involves merging the preliminary round of qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup and the AFC Asian Cup.
Depending on the number of entries, the member associations will be divided into eight groups after the preliminary stages, it said in a statement.
The eight group winners and four second best teams 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 World Cup qualifiers. These proposals will be further examined by the AFC Competitions Committee.