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Friday, March 9, 2012

FIFA upgrade AFC Challenge Cup to continental qualifier status

Although I would like to claim credit for this, I don't think I can :)

A little bit of history.

In 2008, AFC announced two 2011 Asian Cup spots would be available for the 2008 and 2010 winners of the AFC Challenge Cup.

On 28 July 2008 I wrote to FIFA asking them if they will change the status of AFC Challenge Cup matches for FIFA ranking purposes from friendly (1.0 multiplier) to continental qualifier (2.5 multiplier).

Their answer:

"While we can follow your line of argumentation please note that the AFC Challenge Cup will continue to be rated as 'friendly' (like other regional competitions with developmental character elsewhere in the world). The one Asian Nations Cup spot at stake is regarded as a bonus with the vast majority of participants coming through the one and only preliminary competition."

In February 2011, CAF asked FIFA to include CHAN matches in the FIFA ranking.

On 25 February 2011, I wrote to AFC and all Challenge Cup teams suggesting them to follow CAF's example and ask FIFA to upgrade the AFC Challenge Cup matches to continental qualifier status. I received no answer.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Filipino Football about the change of status. You can see it for yourself in the Fixtures and Results section on

About me:

Christian, husband, father x 3, programmer, Romanian. Started the blog in March 2007. Quit in April 2018. You can find me on LinkedIn.


  1. I think that is a good decision. Quite incredibly I was only thinking less than 24 hours ago that these games should be regarded this way.

  2. why fifa have not updated ranking in their website?

  3. Interesting that you wrote to them in 2008!

    I asked why they couldn't retrospectively change the previous editions (2008 + 2010 + qualifiers for these) to continental qualifiers. The answer I got had something to do with new international match regulations becoming valid from August 2011. So, only matches played AFTER this date (i.e. the 2012 finals and all subsequent editions) can be labelled continental qualifiers.

    I was also told that it would have too much of an impact on the rankings if they were to change the status now (I'm not sure HOW MUCH of an impact it would have, but in my opinion, seeing American Samoa ranked above Kyrgyzstan doesn't seem right anyway...)

  4. Long overdue, and I also believe retrospective changes should be made. Change the rankings too much? That's the point!

    Now we ought to see promotion and relegation if you like between the two groups, proper qualifiers and Challenge Cup. Get Korea DPR out of there, what a joke. It's because they were treated as friendlies that they and everyone else couldn't break free even though they won the Challenge Cup.

  5. The problem is - introducing retrospective changes only affect the CURRENT rankings. So, the rankings that change too much would only be the current rankings, and there would not be any continuity between previous rankings issues and the current one, as FIFA cannot (or does not) alter a ranking once it has been published. Any matches that are added or deleted from the ranking process only affect the NEXT ranking issue after the change has taken place.

    For example, if Brazil beat Argentina, and got 30 ranking points, but it was subsequently discovered (after the ranking was issued) that Argentina used 8 substitutes, and the match was removed from the ranking process, they would still retain those 30 points in the already issued ranking (even though the match they gained the points for had been removed), and the points would be removed for the next edition.

    1. Mark,

      FIFA does alter a ranking once it has been published. In the case of the adjustment of the AFC-confederation coefficient after the World Cup 2010 they applied the adjusted AFC-coefficient and recalculated/changed all rankings from july 2010 until august 2011 (when this adjustment was finally announced).

      OK, the changes were minimal (as will be probably in this case too) but still, they did adjust previously released rankings.

  6. This would also apply even if the mistake (of including the match) was only discovered a year later - they would retain those points for each of the 12 ranking issues of that year, and they would only be lost from the calculation on the next issue after the mistake was discovered.

  7. Then they should make the changes next edition. It will have a bearing on the draw for the 2015 Asian Cup qualifiers, and the 2014 Challenge Cup.

  8. I agree. But they've told me they won't do it. They had a meeting, and this was the decision. All future editions will be treated as continental qualifiers (as long as AFC retain the Challenge Cup as a qualifier for the Asian Cup).

  9. I know. But they should. At least they've sorted the immediate issue out at long last.

  10. Hi Edgar,
    if you remember I made a post to this argument some time ago comparing the situation of the AFC challenge Cup similar to the Caribbean and UNCAF Cup.. what about the qualifiers for the final AFC Challenge Cup tournament? They will have the continental qualifier status too (as the qualifiers for the Caribbean Cup have the same status of the final tournament) or they will remain as friendly matches?

  11. All future Challenge Cup finals matches AND qualifying matches will be counted as continental qualifiers.

  12. Mark, thanks for all the info!