The A-League has been hit hard in a raft of changes by the AFC, going from two automatic places and a spot in the playoffs to just one of each
Perth Glory have been dealt a blow after confirmation Australia has received only two spots in the 2013 AFC Champions League.
The A-League has had its allocation of spots in next year's ACL reduced from two automatic positions and one qualifying to one of each.
Central Coast, who finished top of the A-League ladder last season, will go straight into the group stages and champions Brisbane Roar must earn a spot through qualifying, with Perth Glory missing out on a maiden ACL campaign.
"It's important for us to maintain a strong presence in the ACL through the Central Coast Mariners' direct participation and the strong prospect of Brisbane Roar also qualifying," head of the A-League Damien de Bohun said on Thursday.
"Our real focus and that of our clubs this year is the Hyundai A-League, the consolidation of the 10-team competition and continuing to build on the exciting start to this season."
The AFC have made it clear for a long time that they hope to improve the standard of football across Asia and the ACL is seen as a key step.
Due to Australia's lack of promotion and relegation, the lack of an independent commission to run the A-League and other factors, there was always the possibility that ACL spots would be affected.
FFA chief executive David Gallop flew to AFC House in Kuala Lumpur earlier this week to plead Australia's case but has been unsuccessful in maintaining the A-League's allocation, while Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Japan, Korea Republic and China have all been allocated four automatic spots.
Since Australia first had representatives in the ACL, two A-League clubs have automatically qualified, with the positions having been allocated to the grand final winners - the champions - and the premiers - the club that finished top of the ladder before the finals.
This year, however, the A-League was granted a third spot, which went to Adelaide United and they qualified via a two-legged play-off over Indonesia's Persipura Jayapura.
But now that third spot is gone and the A-League has even gone backwards compared to two years ago.