According to the official website of AFC, the green signal was shown in the Vision Asia Bureau meeting in Shanghai as the application from Sri Lanka was accepted. Maldives inclusion in the vision Asia project was also ratified at the meeting.
The two Indian Ocean countries join India and Bangladesh as part of the current South Asian Vision Asia portfolio.
Cricket is the dominant sport in Sri Lanka, which has a population of around 18 million, though football is widely played in schools and at club level. Sri Lanka’s best performance at international level was when they won the 1995 South Asian Football Federation Cup on home soil, beating India in the final. They also reached the 1993 final in Lahore, Pakistan where India came out on top. In 2006, the Lankans reached the final of the 2006 AFC Challenge Cup in Bangladesh, losing to Tajikistan.
The addition of Sri Lanka and Maldives takes the number of Member Associations benefiting from the programme to 14.