There are no plans to introduce qualifying standards for the Asian Games as there is still room to accommodate more athletes, said top official Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah as the 17th edition came to an end yesterday. With costs rising to stage the quadrennial showpiece - it cost Incheon US$2 billion which is cheap compared with the US$20 billion for the 2010 Guangzhou Games - there have been calls from some quarters to cut back on numbers participating. But Sheikh Ahmad, the president of the Olympic Council of Asia, said athletes, especially in team sports, would still be freely able to participate and there were no plans to bring in an Olympic-style qualifying process. If we reach the 20,000 mark, then perhaps it will be time to think of bringing in a qualifying process President of the Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah "It is not necessary to have a qualifying process for the Asian Games. We have room to grow and accommodate more athletes and officials [at the Athletes' Village]," said Sheikh Ahmad. "Right now we have around 15,000 athletes and officials at these Games. "If we reach the 20,000 mark, then perhaps it will be time to think of bringing in a qualifying process." The Incheon Games was attended by 9,500 athletes and around half that number of officials. It was open season for many of the team sports, which did not have pre-qualifying standards. "In football, for example, there were 29 teams in both the men's and women's competition resulting in the competition having to start four days before the opening ceremony. "Many of our NOCs [National Olympic Committees] send only a few athletes to the Olympics resulting in a lot of athletes unable to achieve their dreams. "We offer them the chance to take part in a major international sporting event," Sheikh Ahmad said. Hong Kong is a good example of a territory benefiting from the open invitation to attend the Games. The record-sized delegation of 659, including 472 athletes and 187 officials, was inflated by the fact that for the first time a large number of team sports were allowed to attend. Sheikh Ahmad said: "I'm also closely involved with the AFC [Asian Football Confederation] and I know within Asia, we have countries who have never played against each other. "These Games offer countries to meet each other, we have Kyrgyzstan playing Iran or the Maldives playing South Korea. "We provide the environment and this is something we will continue to do until we don't have room to accommodate athletes." The sheikh, meanwhile, took a swipe at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for "killing cricket" and not sending teams to the Twenty20 competition. "The people in charge of cricket in India are businesspeople and all they want to do is to make money and are not concerned with the development of the game," Sheikh Ahmad said. "I'm very sorry for India not sending a side for the second successive Games and their leaders must be held responsible. "This is not a sport for them, but a way to make money. "They are killing cricket. This is why cricket is still largely played among the Commonwealth only because they are not trying to develop and promote the game. Other sports are fighting to become an Olympic sport, but not cricket. "In the future I hope things will change and they will understand the benefits of being at the Asian Games," Sheikh Ahmad added.