INDIAN FOOTBALL

AFC 2023 Asia Cup Qualifiers to be played in centralized venues

Luis Enrique

The 2023 AFC Asia Cup Qualifiers will not have the usual away and home leg format. Instead, the team will play in centralized venues to decide the final participants of the continental tournament. COVID-19 is the main cause for the change which reap many other benefits that have been proven in the past.

The centralized venue concept became a norm once Project Restart succeeded in the UEFA Leagues. To complete the 2019/20 season, the clubs agreed to play the knockout stages of the tournament in neutral venues. The endeavour was a success as it benefitted the players as well as their clubs. Pundits and fans too felt that the idea was not too bad. However, as the following season came, things reverted back to normal.

Since most countries in Asia are still recovering from a pandemic, the AFC feel that this move will be the wisest. Centralized venues reduce the financial burden on clubs that have had a hard time for the past 2 years. Teams will surely miss the fans but that would mean that the game is completely fair.

AFC 2023 Asia Cup Qualifiers Dates

The AFC 2023 Asia Cup Qualifiers will be held on June 8, June 11 and June 14, 2022. None of the venues have been decided so far and the AFC plan to start the bidding process in due time. The member countries can express their interest to host and secure the permission soon enough.

The health and safety of the players is the primary concern of the AFC. Every country has its own COVID protocol and quarantine periods and restrictions. Apart from the situation at that point in time will also play an important role in determining the success of this plan. Can the Indian National Team continue their run from the SAFF Championship in the qualifiers?

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