Football Tribe SEA Editor
The ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) have announced that they’re going to restart their regional club competition, the ASEAN Club Championship (ACC), in 2020. The competition was last held in 2005 and while there were plans to revive the competition in 2012, that didn’t came into fruition, meaning that the 2020 version will be the competition’s complete revival.
12 clubs will participate in the competition, from 11 out of 12 members of the AFF with Australia not sending any of their representative from the A-League. It has a lucrative US$ 500,000 worth of prize money and will be held between May and November of 2020, with the earliest draw possible for the competition’s play-off rounds to be held on March 4th, 2020.
10 clubs will directly qualify to the competition’s group stages, with two extra spots being fought between the clubs participating in the play-off rounds. The distribution of clubs between each participating AFF nations are as follows:
- Thailand: 2 clubs (Group Stages)
- Vietnam: 2 clubs (Group Stages)
- Malaysia: 2 clubs (Group Stages)
- Indonesia: 2 clubs (Group Stages)
- Singapore: 1 club (Group Stages)
- Myanmar: 1 club (Group Stages)
- Philippines: 1 club (Play-offs)
- Cambodia: 1 club (Play-offs)
- Laos: 1 club (Play-offs)
- Brunei Darussalam: 1 club (Play-offs)
- Timor-Leste: 1 club (Play-offs).
Each club are allowed to play up to 4 foreigners, with 1 of those foreigner coming from an Asian nation. Clubs who use the ASEAN quota (Thailand and Malaysia) are free to play their ASEAN imports as they will not count towards the foreigners quota. The play-off rounds for the 2020 ACC are reportedly to be played on April 25th, 2020, between the five clubs from the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, and Timor-Leste.
Although there were rumors that the winners of the 2020 ACC will be invited to participate in the upcoming 2021 FIFA Club World Cup in China, which will be revamped to feature 24 teams from around the world, those rumors were quickly dispelled away by the AFC, who stated that the AFC will receive three slots for the 2021 CWC – the East Zone champions and the West Zone champions of the AFC Champions League, and the winner between a play-off match between the losing East Zone and West Zone teams.
The previous two editions of the ACC in 2003 and 2005 were won by Quess East Bengal (India) and Tampines Rovers (Singapore) respectively, with the former being invited by the AFF to participate in the 2003 edition of the ACC.
AFF Nations Announce Participating Clubs
The football federations of Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia were reportedly quick to announce their representatives for the upcoming ACC. The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) are reportedly nominating Singha Chiangrai United (2019 Thai League 1 champions) and PT Prachuap (2019 Thai League Cup champions) as their ACC representatives, while the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) are considering sending Hanoi FC (2019 V.League 1 and 2019 Vietnamese National Cup champions) and Ho Chi Minh City FC (2019 V.League 1 runners-up) as their ACC representatives. The Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) are reportedly nominating Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC (2019 C.League champions) as their ACC representative.
Meanwhile, the Football Federation of Indonesia (PSSI) have considered against sending 2019 Liga 1 champions Bali United and 2018/19 Piala Indonesia champions PSM Makassar to the ACC due to concerns regarding fixture congestions. The PSSI will instead nominate two out of three teams between Persebaya Surabaya as the 2019 Liga 1 runners-up, Persipura Jayapura as the 2019 Liga 1 third placed team, and Persija Jakarta as the runners-up of the 2018/19 Piala Indonesia.
The football federations of Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, the Philippines, Laos, Brunei, and Timor-Leste are yet to announce their proposed representatives for the ACC.