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AFC scraps tournament

New Delhi: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC), on Wednesday, decided to scrap AFC Challenge Cup from the list of continental competitions.

The 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, to be played in Maldives from May 19 to 30, will be the tournament’s final edition. The winners would directly qualify for Asian Cup 2015.

According to AFC, the decision was taken in order to give opportunity to more countries to play the Asian Cup. The AFC executive committee has decided to approve a proposal to increase the number of teams from 16 to 24 in the Asian Cup from the 2019 edition.

It may be recalled that India qualified for 2011 Asian Cup after 24 years when they won the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008.

The executive committee also ratified the competition committee’s proposal to merge the preliminary qualification rounds for World Cup qualifiers and the Asian Cup.