Football at the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games to be held in Malaysia will be a playground for under-22 players, according to Tran Quoc Tuan, vice chairman of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF).
The 2015 SEA Games and previous editions were the playground for under-23 footballers.
Tuan, who is also the vice chairman of the Vietnam Football Federation, revealed the information after a meeting with the competition board of the AFF in New Delhi, India on November 30.
He rejected the proposal of Malaysia, the host of the 29th SEA Games, who asked to make the competition available to under-21 players only because it creates a break in the continuity in the youth competition system in Asia and in the world.
In 2017, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will organize the qualification round of the AFC U-22 Championship in order to select the teams the following year to advance to the Olympic Games for under-23 teams.
So, it is logical to allow U-22 players to play the 2017 SEA Games.
The suggestion secured total agreement from all members of the competition board of the AFF in a meeting on Monday, and will be submitted for official approval in a meeting of the AFF Council on December 6 in Australia.
The news means well-trained footballers such as Cong Phuong, Tuan Anh, and Xuan Truong of the first batch of the Hoang Anh Gia Lai – Arsenal JMG Football Academy may have the chance to play in the 2017 SEA Games.