Asian Cup ticket sales pledged to flood fund
A joint statement by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed Bin Hammam and Qatar Football Association (QFA) chief Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al Thani said the flooding had been tragic. "Our thoughts and wishes go to all those who suffer in our fellow Asian nations of Australia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, recently struck by flooding and national disasters," it said.
"It is the joint decision of the AFC, the QFA and the organising committee of the Asian Cup to offer the proceeds of the semi-final matches of the AFC Asian Cup to a disaster relief fund in order to help those affected. Our condolences are offered to those who have lost their loved ones during these tragic events."
The semi-finals see Japan face Korea Republic at the Al Gharafa Stadium, while Australia play Uzbekistan at the Khalifa Stadium. Recent flooding across Australia has wrought unprecedented damage with at least 20 people dead, while more than one million people have been affected by monsoon floods in Sri Lanka, with some 43 people perishing. In Thailand, thousands of people were affected by floods in the south this month.
Meanwhile, the AFC have also confirmed that the top three finishers at the Asian Cup will automatically qualify for the 2015 edition in Australia. It was the same scenario for the current tournament, which allowed 2007 winners Iraq, runners-up Saudi Arabia and third-placed Korea Republic to avoid the qualifying process.
"The top three teams have a bye to the 2015 tournament, which will be held in Australia. This is to motivate the teams," said tournament director Tokuaki Suzuki. He added that if 2015 hosts Australia qualify as one of the top three in Doha, no new berth would be created.
Australia play Uzbekistan in the semi-finals later on Tuesday, with Korea Republic facing Japan in the other last-four clash.