Kuala Lumpur: The AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Qualifiers Final Round will be converted from the conventional home and away format to single round robin ties to be played in centralised venues.
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.
It was agreed that the three Match Days would be held on June 8, 11 and 14, 2022, with the AFC opening in due course the bidding process to all Participating Member Associations to express their interest in hosting the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Qualifiers Final Round.
Similar to the bidding process of all centralised AFC Competitions in 2021, a wide range of requirements have been put in place to ensure adherence to the highest health and safety protocols and standards.
These include minimum travel and quarantine restrictions for all participating teams, convenience of flight connections to the host country, the medical situation in the host country, sufficient venues to organise the matches and most importantly, mandatory COVID-19 test to be organised for all players and officials upon arrival and during the duration of the competition under the guidance of the AFC's Infection Control Officers.
The new match schedule may be amended where necessary pursuant to relevant provisions of the competition regulations.
Following the conclusion of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Qualifiers Play-off stage earlier this month, Indonesia and Cambodia sealed the final two spots in the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Qualifiers Final Round after 22 teams clinched their places in June's Preliminary Joint Qualifiers Round 2.