Almost a year and a half ago now, I suggested merging the OFC into the AFC into one large confederation, spanning many timezones and over 63% of the global population. If you want to have a look at that post, you can check that out here.
Anyway, recent conversations following Australia’s success suggest that some West Asian nations are unhappy with Australia being part of the AFC and want us removed (however, since we have done anything warranting that under the statutes, it’s not going to happen).
However, a conversation has sprung up about the size of the AFC, and particularly if the OFC is merged into it. A confederation of 58 member federations would be unwieldy with some extremely poor nations – for example, the Solomon Islands are unlikely to be able to afford to travel all the way to, say, Lebanon, for a World Cup Qualifier should both make it far enough through the tournament.
My original thought was to split the combined 58 member federation into 3 smaller ones, but I could not find an effective way to achieve that.
What I think is best is to split the 58 member federations in half, based on the smaller federations that currently exist. My proposal sees the creation of a West Asian Football Confederation and the East Asian Football Confederation, made up of the following countries.
|New West Asian Football Confederation|
|West Asian Football Federation||Central Asian Football Federation||South Asian Football Federation|
|United Arab Emirates|
|New East Asian Football Federation|
|East Asian Football Federation||ASEAN Football Federation||Oceania Football Federation|
|China PR||Australia||American Samoa|
|Korea DPR||Laos||New Zealand|
|South Korea||Malaysia||Papua New Guinea|
|Chinese Taipei (Taiwan)||Singapore||Tonga|
|Northern Marianas Islands (associate)||Thailand||Vanuatu|
|Timor-Leste (East Timor)||Kiribati (associate)|
Now, the keen eyed among you would notice that there are 25 member countries in the WAFC and 33 countries in the EAFC. I decided not to move any at this point because moving countries from East Asia or ASEAN into South Asia makes no sense in a geographic or geopolitical sense.
There may be moves within the WAFC or the EAFC (for example, I can see Papua New Guinea move from OFF to ASEAN.
World Cup spots
One of the first questions that will come up on this is how are World Cup spots allocated. One immediate benefit of this is 5 guaranteed spots across the 2 confederations, but how is that split?
Firstly, on the subject of World Cup qualifying spots.
CAF = 5 spots among 51 countries = 1/11 chance of qualifying
Expanded Asia = 5 spots among 58 countries = 1/12 chance of qualifying
Europe = 13 spots among 53 countries = 1/4 chance of qualifying
North and Central America = 3.5 spots among 35 countries = 1/10 chance of qualifying
South America = 4.5 spots among 10 countries = 9/20 chance of qualifying
You can see that UEFA and CONMEBOL have the odds stacked in their favour. I am not advocating spots away from CAF or CONCACAF, nor would I take spots fron CONMEBOL since there are so few countries there. I am suggesting that one (1) additional spot is moved from UEFA to the combined WAFC/EAFC for a total of 6 spots.
How would they be allocated between the two confederations?
This is an unusual idea, but bear with me.
I would suggest that the current model that the AFC uses continues. I would allocate 2 spots to WAFC and 2 to EAFC, which would leave 2 spots free.
The third and fourth best team in both the East and West would have to take part in a round robin, home and away tournament on international breaks. Since there are at least three international breaks between the traditional end of World Cup qualifying in Asia (12 months prior to the tournament) and the draw (December before the tournament), there is plenty of time for this Champions League-esque draw to take place. This could increase funds to those countries as well as raise interest in the fixtures. The top 2 at the end of these breaks get the last two qualifying spots.
This is a controversial idea, I agree, but it is something different that I think fans of international football could enjoy.
So those are my thoughts – leave your comments below!!