Kuala Lumpur: The AFC Executive Committee met for the last time this year on a note of solidarity here on Thursday under the chairmanship of AFC Acting President Zhang Jilong and unanimously decided to hold the AFC Congress by the end of April 2013 and organise elections for AFC and FIFA Executive Committee positions.
Meeting at AFC House before the AFC Annual Awards gala in the evening, the AFC Executive Committee approved elections for the positions of one female AFC Vice-President, two female members to the AFC Executive Committee, and one position on the FIFA Executive Committee.
The members also decided to hold an election for the position of the AFC President during the AFC Congress (end of April), subject to the recommendations and advice of the AFC Legal Committee by mid-January.
At the outset, Jilong said he is firmly committed to a new era of transparency for the confederation.
“Under my caretaker leadership, I promised a new vision for AFC. I committed myself to a new era of transparency and I am confident that with your support I will be able to deliver this objective,” he said.
Jilong also expressed his solidarity with the Palestinian people.
“I would like to convey my heartfelt sympathy to those affected by the recent incidents in Gaza, which have led to great loss of life and property,” said the AFC Acting President.
“I express my solidarity with the Palestinians and the Palestine Football Association and hope the situation will return to complete normalcy as soon as possible
He also highlighted the Asian teams’ performances at the Olympics and FIFA events, saying that it spoke volumes about Asian football’s rise on the world stage.
Considering the need to provide more exposure to teen players, the members gave their green light to the organisation of the AFC U-14 Championship.
The committee also decided to reconsider the direct slots for the AFC Challenge Cup winners in 2016 and 2018 to the AFC Asian Cup finals in 2019.
It was also decided to introduce a home-and-away Round of 16 stage for the AFC Champions League, while the AFC Cup Round of 16 will be held over one leg only next year.
Apart from ratifying the other decisions of the respective standing committees, the AFC Executive Committee approved the slots for the 2013 edition of the AFC Champions League as below:
Japan 4 (all direct slots)
Korea Republic 4 (all direct slots)
China 4 (all direct slots)
Uzbekistan 1 (direct slot)
Australia 1+1 (direct+playoff)
Thailand 1+1 (direct+playoff)
Saudi Arabia 4 (all direct slots)
Qatar 4 (all direct slots)
Iran 3+1 (direct+playoff)
UAE 2+2 (direct+playoff)
Uzbekistan 1+1 (direct+playoff)