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The island nation edged out the other hopefuls, which included India, Tajikistan and Philippines...

In a major setback to India’s hope of qualifying for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, the AFC Competitions Committee on Wednesday decided to give the hosting rights of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup to Maldives.

The competitions committee, which is run under the chairmanship of AFC Vice President from UAE, Yousuf Al Serkal, ratified the decision taken by the Organising Committee for AFC’s President’s Cup and AFC Challenge Cup to appoint Maldives as a host.

Apart from India, Philippines and Tajikistan were also interested in hosting the tournament.

The committee also proposed the 2013 AFC Champions League slots to the AFC Executive Committee, which will meet on Thursday. However, the members decided to hold the final of the ACL on home and away basis next year.

The ideas proposed by the AFC Asian Cup Task Force were presented and approved for the 2019 edition onwards, in which several changes shall be seen

While in the final 16 teams shall continue to take part, the winners of the AFC Challenge Cup in 2016 and 2018 will no longer get a direct berth into the competition. They will have to face-off against the two best remaining teams who failed to qualify via the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

The committee also approved DPR Korea’s exclusion from future AFC Challenge Cups and maintain automatic qualification for top three teams from the 2015 edition in the next edition.

As per the views of the AFC Technical Committee, the members also decided to maintain a regular format of festival for U-14 age group, rather than organizing AFC U-14 Championship.

Amongst the other decisions made by the committee were to approve the AFC Calender for 2013 AFC Asian Cup 2019 bidding procedure and timeline, 2014 AFC Challenge Cup regulations, 2014 AFC U-19 and U-16 Championships regulations, participation of Selangor in the 2013 AFC Cup, format for 2013 AFC Champions League and AFC Cup R16 and the final, Tajikistan clubs’ participation in the AFC Cup, Palestinian club’s participation in the AFC President’s Cup, formation of a panel to investigate match-fixing cases.

All decisions of this committee need to be ratified by the AFC Executive Committee to take effect.

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