Thailand confirmed as 2007 Asian Cup co-host
Thailand has been confirmed as a co-host for the 2007 Asian Cup, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Friday.
Thailand had been slated to co-host the event with Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam but the AFC warned in June that Thailand risked being dropped as one of the venues after failing to meet some of the AFC's requirements.
AFC President Mohamed bin Hammam said that enough work had been done in the past two months to convince Asia's football governing body of Thailand's commitment to stage the competition.
"Since our last meeting with the four countries, Thailand has provided us with the necessary documents detailing their government's support and the plans for the improvement of facilities," said Hammam.
"We are satisfied with what we have received and are now convinced that Thailand will be ready to host Asia's premier event in 2007," he added.
An Organising Association Agreement, entailing the obligations of the Host Associations and AFC, is to be signed in November, which will officially confirm Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam as the hosts of the Asian Cup 2007.
Along with the four co-hosts, 25 other national associations have submitted their entries for the 2007 Asian Cup.
As only 24 teams will play in the qualification round, the two lowest-ranked participants -- Bangladesh and Pakistan -- will meet in a home and away play-off in November to decide the final spot in the qualifying group stage. A draw held at AFC House on Friday determined that Bangladesh will host the first leg with the return match in Pakistan.
The draw for the qualification round will be held on January 4, 2006 with the 24 teams divided into six groups of four. The teams will play in double round-robin groups on a home and away basis, beginning in February 2006 with the top two teams in each group qualifying for the finals.