The Draw for the qualification stages was made on December 22, 2006 in Kuala Lumpur, seven groups with six teams and one group with three teams were made. However Afghanistan, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, the Maledives and Myanmar withdrew before the start of the qualification.
On February 18, 2008, the AFC Disciplinary Committee ejected eight teams for fielding overaged players, including DPR Korea, Tajikistan and Iraq, who had originally qualified for the AFC U-16 Championship 2008.
The winners and runners-up of Groups A-G along with the winner of the three-team Group H qualified for the finals. The yet to be identified hosts also qualify automatically for the finals.