Soccer-Thailand replaces Taiwan as 2008 Challenge Cup host

BANGKOK, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Thailand has replaced Taiwan as host of the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, the winners of which are guaranteed a place at the 2011 Asian Cup finals in Qatar, the Asian Football Confederation said on Thursday.

Thailand was given the nod because Taiwan could not guarantee it would meet the AFC’s standards for hosting the 16-team tournament, contested by Asia’s lowest-ranked countries.

The winners of the 2008 and 2010 Challenge Cups will join hosts Qatar, defending champions Iraq, losing finalists Saudi Arabia and third-placed South Korea in the 2011 Asian Cup finals.

Tajikistan won the inaugural Challenge Cup in 2006, which was hosted by Bangladesh. (Reporting by Martin Petty; Editing by Peter Rutherford)