News - English
News numbre:  8709070908
2008-11-27 - 19:52

Iran will Have 4 Teams in Asian Champions League

TEHRAN (FNA)- Ten AFC Member Associations have been given direct entry into next year's revamped AFC Champions League, which will mark the dawn of a new era of professionalism for Asian football.

Iran, Japan, South Korea, China, and Saudi Arabia will have four clubs in the 32-team competition.

Other Member Associations who have satisfied the entry requirements based on stringent criteria are: The United Arab Emirates (three clubs), Australia (two), Uzbekistan (two), Qatar (two) and Indonesia (one).

UAE and Indonesia will also be able to enter one club in the ACL Play-offs, along with one club from India, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The winners and runners-up of the AFC Cup 2008 will get a berth in the Play-offs.

A condition for the ACL Play-offs is that each club is a commercial entity according to AFC Champions League criteria. Otherwise, they will be invited to play in the second-tier AFC Cup.

The ten Member Associations were chosen from a list of 14 candidates. Their selection was based on a points-system that took into account organization, technical standards, attendances, governance, marketing, business acumen, media coverage, stadium size and quality and the commercial viability of clubs.

Iran, Japan, South Korea, China and Saudi Arabia scored high marks in all categories, which meant they are able to field four teams each in the 2009 ACL.

UAE scored enough marks to enable them to field three clubs with direct entry in the ACL, while giving them another slot via the ACL Play-offs.

"The time has come for Asian club football to shed its amateurism and embrace professionalism in all aspects sincerely," said AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam.

"Only a culture of all pervading professionalism will raise the level of Asian football," he added.

Chairman of the AFC Professional League Ad hoc Committee, Captain Saburo Kawabuchi, said there would be no looking back now.

"I set very high standards for the whole exercise and I also emphasized that we cannot make any excuses in achieving the goals," said Kawabuchi.

"All the Member Associations have re-affirmed their willingness and enthusiasm to revamp the way football is played in Asia and I sincerely appreciate their passion and cooperation."

The draw for the 2009 ACL will be held on January 7, 2009 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The official launch of the tournament's new logo and branding will take place on December 12 in Tokyo, Japan.