The 2016 AFC U-16 Championship was the 17th edition of the AFC U-16 Championship, the biennial international youth football championship organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for the men's under-16 national teams of Asia. The tournament was held in India, as announced by the AFC on 3 June 2015, and was played between 15 September and 2 October 2016. A total of 16 teams will play in the tournament.
Same as previous editions, the tournament acted as the AFC qualifiers for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. The top four teams of the tournament qualified for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup also in India as the AFC representatives, besides India who qualified automatically as hosts. If India were among the top four teams, three play-off matches would be played to decide the fifth-placed team which also qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup; however, this was not necessary as India were eliminated in the group stage.
This marked the first time a U-17 World Cup host nation hosts the AFC U-16 Championship.
Iraq won the tournament after beating Iran 4–3 on penalties in the final match.
The draw for the qualifiers was held on 5 June 2015. A total of 45 teams were drawn into eleven groups, with the eleven group winners and the four best runners-up qualifying for the final tournament, together with India who qualified automatically as hosts but also competed in the qualifying stage.
The qualifiers were played between 12–20 September 2015, except for Group H which were played between 2–6 September 2015.
The following 16 teams qualified for the final tournament. Nepal were replaced by Kyrgyzstan due to one of their players failing a MRI bone test.
On 12 April 2016, the AFC Competitions Committee decided that if the FIFA suspension of the Kuwait Football Association was not lifted by 13 May 2016, the next highest ranked team in the AFC U-16 Championship qualifying competition would replace Kuwait in the competition.
On 13 May 2016, the FIFA Congress confirmed the suspension of Kuwait, and asked the FIFA Council to lift the suspension as soon as the necessary requirements are fulfilled. As a result, Kuwait were replaced by Yemen, the next highest ranked team in the AFC U-16 Championship qualifying competition.
The tournament is played in two venues:
The draw for the final tournament was held on 26 May 2016, 15:00 IST (UTC+5:30), in Goa (postponed from 4 May 2016). The 16 teams were drawn into four groups of four teams. The teams were seeded according to their performance in the previous edition in 2014.
Players born on or after 1 January 2000 are eligible to compete in the tournament. Each team can register a maximum of 23 players (minimum three of whom must be goalkeepers).
The top two teams of each group advance to the quarter-finals. Tiebreakers
The teams are ranked according to points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss). If tied on points, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
- Greater number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
- Goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;
- Greater number of goals scored in the group matches between the teams concerned;
- If, after applying criteria 1 to 3, teams still have an equal ranking, criteria 1 to 3 are reapplied exclusively to the matches between the teams in question to determine their final rankings. If this procedure does not lead to a decision, criteria 5 to 9 apply;
- Goal difference in all the group matches;
- Greater number of goals scored in all the group matches;
- Penalty shoot-out if only two teams are involved and they are both on the field of play;
- Fewer score calculated according to the number of yellow and red cards received in the group matches (1 point for a single yellow card, 3 points for a red card as a consequence of two yellow cards, 3 points for a direct red card, 4 points for a yellow card followed by a direct red card);
- Drawing of lots.
All times are local, IST (UTC+5:30).
In the knockout stage, penalty shoot-out is used to decide the winner if necessary (extra time is not used).
Winners qualify for 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.Most Valuable Player
1 own goal
As per statistical convention in football, matches decided in extra time are counted as wins and losses, while matches decided by penalty shoot-outs are counted as draws.
The following five teams from AFC qualified for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, including India which qualified as hosts.
On 4 November 2016, the AFC announced that the North Korean manager Yung Jong-su and goalkeeper Jang Paek-ho were banned for a year for "bringing the game into disrepute following the deliberate conceding of a goal" during their final group match against Uzbekistan. The goal in question was conceded in the 49th minute, which Jang appeared to duck out of the way of a direct kick from the Uzbek goalkeeper. Uzbekistan won the match 3–1 and finished top of the group, meaning they would meet Iraq in the quarter-finals, which they went on to lose. North Korea, as group runners-up, would meet Oman in the quarter-finals, which they won and qualified for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The ban means both Yung and Jang are suspended from the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The North Korean team were also served a suspended ban from the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship. They will be allowed to compete in the qualifiers, but if the team "engage in similar behaviour", they will be automatically excluded from the competition.