Qatar have been selected as the hosts for the AFC U23 Asian Cup 2024 by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Competitions Committee at its fifth meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday.
Following a comprehensive Bid Evaluation process as well as the overall risk assessment on the key deliverables outlined in the subsequent report, Qatar – who will be hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022 in November this year – was selected by the Committee from among the five bidders, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan, the Asian Football Confederation said in a press release Friday.

Led by Chairperson, Dr Tran Quoc Tuan, the Committee also lauded the strong momentum gathered by a majority of the AFC Member Associations (MAs) in staging a commendable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Therefore, given the declining impact of the pandemic across Asia, the Committee agreed to recommend to the AFC Executive Committee to discontinue the operation of the Special Rules Applicable to AFC Competitions During Covid-19 Pandemic from 2023 onwards.

At the same time, members of the Committee also acknowledged the challenges faced by several participating MAs and clubs, who continue to navigate through the various complexities caused by the pandemic.

In this spirit, the Committee recognised that the withdrawals of Chinese clubs – Changchun Yatai FC and Shanghai Port FC – from the AFC Champions League 2022™ were the result of cases of force majeure.

Similarly in the AFC Cup 2022, the withdrawals of the two clubs from Myanmar – Shan United FC and Hantharwady United FC, as well as MUST CPK from Macau - were also recognised as being the result of cases of force majeure, as was the withdrawal of Macau from the AFC U20 and U17 Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers.

The Committee also approved the proposal to adopt a consistent approach in aligning other AFC competitions with the AFC Asian Cup with regard to the cancellation of single cautions (that have not resulted in an expulsion) from the qualifiers stage. This means that such cautions will not be carried over to the finals stage in order to ensure balance for all teams in the Finals.

This approach has been reflected in the updated competition regulations of the AFC U20 Asian Cup 2023 and AFC U17 Asian Cup 2023, with the regulations of other competitions to be updated in due course.

The Committee also noted the five-month long gap between this year’s AFC Champions League Semi-Final (East Region), which concluded in Saitama, Japan, in August and the two-legged Finals scheduled for February 2023, in comparison to the Knockout Stage (West Region) which will be played just before the Finals.

Currently, Registration Window 3 of the Competition Regulations applies to the entire Knockout Stage which includes the Round of 16 through to the Finals, and only allows clubs to replace goalkeepers with long-term injuries or illness in accordance with Article 30.5 of the competition regulations.

Therefore, the Committee approved to include an additional registration window for this year’s finalist from the East Region – Urawa Red Diamonds – on an exceptional basis before the two-legged Finals in February 2023.

The Committee also approved the decisions of the AFC Club Licensing Task Force at its recent meeting, which was held on August 24, 2022, and agreed to give its consent for the participation of Brunei DPMM FC in the 2023 season of the Singapore Premier League and Singapore Cup and the matter will now be referred to FIFA.

All the decisions will need to be ratified by the AFC Executive Committee to take effect.
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