This time it's for real.
The last time
was a false alarm. The AFC Women's Championship held in December 2001 was originally supposed to produce the WWC 2003 qualifiers, but it was later decided that the qualifiers would come from the 2003 tournament instead.
So, the AFC Womens Championship will be held in Thailand from April 17-30, 2003. [Note amended dates]
Link to Official tournament site
Countries that have confirmed participation are Uzbekistan, China PR
, Chinese Taipei, defending champions North Korea, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (What, no Iraq? pity.)
The format will have three groups. Two of the groups will have five teams and the other four. The winners of the groups will qualify for the semis along with the second best placed team.
The two finalists will qualify for the FIFA Womens World Cup to be hosted by China from September 23rd to October 11th, 2003.
China has already qualified for the WWC as hosts.
The third placed team (or the fourth-placed team if China is in the top 3) will meet Mexico in a two-leg playoff for another qualifying spot.
The draw for the groups will be held in Bangkok on January 18.