The AFC Women’s Football Committee has praised Asia’s top sides for their resilience and determination at its fourth meeting held in Mumbai today, particularly amidst the challenging backdrop of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™, which will see China PR and Korea Republic battle for Continental supremacy at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai at 4:30pm (local time) tomorrow.
Chaired by Mahfuza Ahkter Kiron, members of the Committee also conveyed their heartfelt congratulations to the Asian sides – China PR, Korea Republic, Japan and the Philippines – for clinching their places in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia/New Zealand 2023™ and wished the remaining automatic spot contenders, Vietnam and Chinese Taipei as well as Thailand who advanced into the Intercontinental playoffs – the very best of success.
The Committee was quick to acknowledge and praise the contributions of everyone working tirelessly behind the scenes, including the largest-ever women’s contingent in the history of the tournament, further underlining the ever-expanding role and pool of women administrators and officials across Asian football.
The Committee also heard from the AFC Deputy General Secretary, Competitions and Football, Shin Man Gil, who lauded and thanked the Local Organising Committee as well as the All India Football Federation for their unwavering support and impeccable hosting capabilities, most notably the seamless logistics management process, top-class infrastructure and despite the complexities, the implementation of strict medical protocols undertaken for the benefit of all stakeholders.
As part of efforts to enhance the quality of Asia’s flagship women’s tournament and to ensure the optimum level of fairness in future editions, the Committee approved the recommendation to transition from the current seeding principles of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup™, which is determined by the final ranking of Participating Teams in the previous edition.
Instead, the latest FIFA Women’s World Ranking, which is updated every quarterly, will now be used as the seeding principles for both the Qualifiers and Final Draws, paving the way for greater consistency with the men’s equivalent – the AFC Asian Cup™.
In addition, the Committee also recognised the challenges caused by the pandemic which impacted hosts India’s ability in naming the required minimum of 13 players for their AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ Group A match against Chinese Taipei on January 23 and agreed that the circumstances constituted as an event of force majeure.
The Committee was also briefed on the continued study and preparations, including the extensive survey conducted by the AFC in 2020 as well as several pilot tournaments, which were aimed at assessing the status of women’s domestic club competitions in view of the impending launch of the AFC Women’s Champions League.
Members noted the significant progress made over a four-year period following the initial feedback exercise conducted in 2016 and were pleased to note the rising quantity and quality of domestic women’s leagues organised by the AFC’s Member Associations (MAs).
It was noted that a majority of AFC MAs were now running multiple domestic women’s club competitions, further underlining the increased interest towards women’s club football across the Continent.
Therefore, the Committee agreed that the pilot editions, which were held in 2019 and 2021, will continue in 2022, followed by an Invitational Tournament to be organised in 2023, before the launch of the AFC Women’s Champions League which will now take place in 2024.
The Committee also agreed to the tentative dates of the AFC Women’s Competitions in 2023 and 2024 whilst at the same time provided the mandate to the AFC Administration to adjust the dates, where necessary, upon further consultation with the prospective host MAs.
Therefore, the proposed dates for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament 2024 Asian Qualifiers Round 1 and 2 are from April 3 to 11, 2023 and October 23 and 31, 2023 respectively, with the centralised Final Round stage recommended to be held from November 27 to December 6, 2023.
Meanwhile, the proposed dates for the AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup 2024 Qualifiers Round 1 are March 4 to 12, 2023 with the Qualifiers Round 2 scheduled for June 3 to 11, 2023, while the Final tournament is recommended to be held from March 3 to 16, 2024.
Finally, the AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup 2024 Qualifiers Round 1 and 2 are scheduled for April 22 to 30, 2023 and September 16 to 24, 2023 respectively with the Finals proposed to be staged from April 7 to 20, 2024.