The WAFF Championship; whose regular cadence flew in the face of other regional tournaments for its first 14 years of existence finally has a new date in place.
The regional sub-confederation was due to host a men’s tournament this year but was one-upped by FIFA’s decision to organize the FIFA Arab Cup in 2021 as a warm up for next year’s World Cup.
For the first time in history, all sub-confederations will participate, and tournament debutantes UAE will play host to the tournament as confirmed by their FA earlier this week.
After the 2014 edition, the tournament got lost in the shuffle as nations became otherwise occupied in the AFC new joint qualifier system.
The 2019 was hurriedly organized in the Summer of 2019 just before the nations of West Asia were due to start their qualifying marathon for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup.
The dates of the 2023 competition were designed to give the participating nations competitive fixtures before the 2023 Asian Cup. As such, the tournament will take place from March 20th to April 3rd, 2023 and take advantage of the FIFA window that tends to fall in the last week of March.
Palestine had their most successful WAFF Championship in 2019 recording two wins, one draw, and one loss. Those results were good enough for second place in their group behind Iraq but ahead of Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. Due to a change in format, though, they did not progress as there was no semifinal stage.