The official draw for the inaugural AFC U22 Asian Cup Qualifiers took place at AFC House on Tuesday.
41 Member Associations have entered the fray to grab 15 spots in the final competition to be played in 2013. The qualifiers will take place from June 23 to July 3, 2012 in seven centralised venues, which will be announced later.
The teams were divided into six groups of six teams each and one group of five. They will play one-round league format and the top two teams will qualify for the tournament proper along with the best third-placed team in all the groups. The hosts of the Finals will get a direct berth.
„This is the latest tournament we have introduced, so this draw in itself is a historic event. The AFC views this competition as the second biggest national team competition, giving prominence and importance to the development of competitions for both the AFC and member associations,“ AFC Executive Director of Competitions Windsor John told the media gathering.
„This competition will serve as a qualifier for the Olympics, beginning with Rio in 2016, so we hope there will be greater attention from the fans as well as the member associations to reflect this competition’s stature as the second biggest tournament of AFC for national teams.“
UAE, Iraq, Oman, India, Turkmenistan, Lebanon
Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka
Bahrain, Iran, Tajikistan, Qatar, Kuwait, Maldives
Uzbekistan, Jordan, Yemen, Bangladesh, Nepal
Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Macau, Timor Leste
DPR Korea, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia
Korea Republic, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Chinese Taipei, Philippines