Kouch Sokumpheak plays for Cambodia who were one of the last two teams to secure their places in the final qualifying round for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup ©Getty Images

The final round of qualifying matches for the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup is set to be held at centralised venues due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The AFC Executive Committee has agreed to move away from the conventional home and away format to single round robin ties as it looks to complete qualification in June 2022 - two years after the process started.

Participating nations are being urged to express their interest in hosting the final three match days, scheduled to be held on June 8, 11 and 14 in 2022.

The AFC said the "existing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic" were behind the move.

"A wide range of requirements have been put in place to ensure adherence to the highest health and safety protocols and standards," a statement from the AFC read.

"These include minimum travel and quarantine restrictions for all participating teams, convenience of flight connections to the host country, the medical situation in the host country, sufficient venues to organise the matches and most importantly, mandatory COVID-19 tests to be organised for all players and officials upon arrival and during the duration of the competition under the guidance of the AFC's infection control officers.

"The new match schedule may be amended where necessary pursuant to relevant provisions of the competition regulations."

Thailand are among 24 teams that are set to battle it out for the remaining 11 spots at the AFC Asian Cup ©Getty Images
Thailand are among 24 teams that are set to battle it out for the remaining 11 spots at the AFC Asian Cup ©Getty Images

Indonesia and Cambodia were the last two sides to secure their places in the final round of qualifying after beating Chinese Taipei and Guam respectively in the play-off round.

The other nations competing for the final 11 spots at the AFC Asian Cup are Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine, India, Tajikistan, Thailand, Philippines, Turkmenistan, Kuwait, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Yemen, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Maldives, Singapore, Nepal, Mongolia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Teams are expected to split into six groups of four with the winners of each pool qualifying for the AFC's flagship event along with five of the best runners-up.

Hosts China, Japan, Syria, Qatar, South Korea, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Lebanon, Oman and Iraq have already booked their place at the AFC Asian Cup, scheduled to be held from June 16 to July 16 in 2023.

The AFC's qualification progress - which started in June 2019 - has been heavily disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, with the second round halted for more than a year.