Who will represent India in Asia’s biggest football League, AFC Champions League ? And which Indian club will be playing in the AFC 2nd tier competition AFC Cup ? Here’s all you need to know.
All India Football Federation has finally named all the Indian clubs that will be representing India in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) competition in 2020-2021 season.
As of May, ISL League winners, means the team who finished in first place in the league table that is FC Goa, will be playing in the AFC Champions League. I-League winner Mohun Bagan have earned themselves the AFC Cup direct group stage entry. While AFC Cup Playoffs slot goes to ATK.
But now, here’s a confusion, as it was announced earlier in January, both Mohun Bagan and ATK will merge and will form a new entity. And this has now created confusion regarding AFC slots.
But AIFF has officially announced that due to Mohun Bagan and ATK will merge into a new entity, the merged entity will play in Mohun Bagan’s slot means the AFC Cup. And that’s why AIFF has decided to give ATK’s AFC Cup playoffs slot to ISL’s 3rd place team Bengaluru FC.
Earlier when the board started the discussion on this important topic, it was touted that Chennaiyin FC will get that AFC Cup playoffs slot, but AFC has decided that they won’t count playoffs performance as ATK will play in Mohun Bagan’s slot. Thus, they decided that they will only count the league stage, and this means the 3rd placed Bengaluru FC will play in the 3rd slot.
1ST SLOT: FC GOA TO PLAY IN THE AFC CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE
FC Goa will represent India in the AFC Champions League after winning the league stage, but in case they fail to meet the criteria then, ATK, the league runners-up will be given that slot. However, it’s very unlikely as FC Goa reportedly have met all the criteria.
2ND SLOT: MOHUN BAGAN ATK TO PLAY AFC CUP GROUP STAGE
After winning the I-League 2019-2020 season, Mohun Bagan has booked themselves their AFC Cup group stage slot. But earlier they announced a merger with ATK, and as ATK owners are the majority stakeholders of the new entity, they have all the rights to field their team in the AFC Cup.
3RD SLOT: BENGALURU FC TO PLAY IN AFC CUP PLAYOFFS
The AFC Cup playoffs slot belongs to ATK, but again, due to ATK merging with Mohun Bagan, the merged club will play in the AFC Cup group stage and according to AFC rules, the AFC Cup playoffs will now be given to Bangaluru FC for finishing 3rd in the ISL league stage.