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Sezon




Participation:



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40 of the 47 AFC member countries enter the competition







Players born on or after 1 January 1995 are eligible for participation.







China PR enter the competition directly at the Group stage as hosts.











Qualifying Round:



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Format:



40 teams are drawn into 10 groups of 4 teams each (Groups A-J)



Groups A-E consist of teams from Western Asia.



Groups F-J consist of teams from Eastern Asia.



Within each region teams are seeded into 4 pots based on their 2016 AFC U23 Championship performance.



West Asia:



Pot 1: Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Iran and UAE;



Pot 2: Syria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Tajikstan;



Pot 3: Bahrain, India, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon and Palestine;



Pot 4: Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka;





East Asia:



Pot 1: Australia, Thailand, Japan, Korea DPR and Korea Republic;



Pot 2: Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and China PR;



Pot 3: Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, Singapore, Timor-Leste and Malaysia;



Pot 4: Brunei, Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia and Philippines.





Each group consists of 1 team from each pot.



Each team plays the others from its own group once - at a mini-tournament hosted by one of the teams - for a total of 3 games each, over 3 game weeks.





Mini-tournaments hosts:



Group A: Kyrgyzstan;



Group B: Saudi Arabia;



Group C: Qatar;



Group D: UAE;



Group E: Palestine;



Group F: Myanmar;



Group G: Korea DPR;



Group H: Thailand;



Group I: Vietnam;



Group J: China PR.







Scoring points:



3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss.







Table order:



1. points won; 2. points in head-to-head matches; 3. goal difference in hth matches; 4. goals scored in hth matches; 5. total goal difference; 6. total goals scored; 7. penalties (if only two teams are tied and are both on the field of play); 8. fairplay ranking; 9. draw.







Qualification for Group stage:



1 place of each group: qualify for Group stage



the five best 2nd placed teams: qualify for Group stage



*If China win their group or are among the five best runners-up, the sixth best runner-up also qualifies for the final tournament.



Tie-breakers for determining best 2nd placed teams:



1. points won; 2. total goal difference; 3. total goals scored; 4. fairplay ranking; 5. draw.











Group stage:



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Format:



All matches from the Group stage and the Knockout stage take place in China PR.



15 teams from the Qualifying Round and 1 team that enters the competition at this stage are drawn into 4 groups of 4 teams each (Groups A-D).



Each team plays the others from its own group once - for a total of 3 games each, over 3 game weeks.







Scoring points:



3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss.







Table order:



1. points won; 2. points in head-to-head matches; 3. goal difference in hth matches; 4. goals scored in hth matches; 5. total goal difference; 6. total goals scored; 7. penalties (if only two teams are tied and are both on the field of play); 8. fairplay ranking; 9. draw.







Qualification for Knockout stage:



1-2 place of each group: qualify for Knockout stage.











Knockout stage:



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Format:



8 teams from Group stage contest the 2018 AFC U23 Championship winner in a knockout format.







Quarter-finals:



Teams are paired according to their Group stage standings:



1st in Group A vs 2nd in Group B (match 1);



1st in Group C vs 2nd in Group D (match 2);



1st in Group B vs 2nd in Group A (match 3);



1st in Group D vs 2nd in Group C (match 4).



Winners are decided over one leg, with extra time and penalties if score is level after regular time.







Semi-finals:



Teams are paired as follows:



winner match 1 vs winner match 2;



winner match 3 vs winner match 4.



Winners are decided over one leg, with extra time and penalties if score is level after regular time.







3rd Place:



The two Semi-finals losers meet each other to contest 3-4 place.



Winner is decided over one leg, with extra time and penalties if score is level after regular time.







Final:



The two Semi-finals winners meet each other with the winner becoming AFC U23 Championship winner.



Winner is decided over one leg, with extra time and penalties if score is level after regular time.