The South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) has decided to change the format of the upcoming SAFF U-18 Championship following Sri Lanka's decision to not participate in the competition.
The island nation's withdrawal reduced the competition to five teams – India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives – which forced the regional football body to alter the tournament's format, turning it into a round-robin one instead of the originally scheduled group format.
According to the new format, each team will face every other team once respectively and the team with the most number of points will win the title. However, the duration of the tournament (September 18-27) has been kept unchanged.
As per the new format, Bangladesh will take on India on the 18th before playing against Maldives on the 20th, against Nepal on the 25th and against hosts Bhutan on the 27th.
Nepal are the defending champions of the tournament, which was last held in 2015 as the SAFF U-19 Championship. At that time, hosts Nepal beat India on penalties in the final to claim the title. Bangladesh were eliminated from the semifinals after losing to India in.