AFC Champions League lifeline for Singapore

New amendments to the ACL rules includes removing the compulsory exclusion for countries that fail to meet set criteria
Inclusion of foreign teams and insufficient attendance figures were just two of the reasons why Singapore was denied a spot in the AFC Champions League (ACL) a year ago, though the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) had withdrawn their participation before the decision was even made.

Now, there could be a stunning turnaround for football fans in Singapore.

At the Joint Meeting of Ad-Hoc Committees for Professional Football, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Tuesday, a decision was made to amend the criteria for participation in the AFC club competitions, including the ACL.

Late Thursday evening, all decisions chaired by the committee, were ratified by the AFC Competitions Committee, followed by the AFC Executive Committee and will now come into effect for the 2013 season

Member Associations (MAs) who do not meet the criteria of participating in the ACL, will be handed points deduction, instead of having their slots taken away completely.

A minimum number of 600 points out of a possible 1000 is, however, required for the MAs to qualify for participation.

Four direct slots will be given to the top two ranked MAs in the East and West zone, and the third-place MAs will be handed three direct slots and one playoff spot. Fourth and fifth ranked MAs will get two direct and one playoff, and one direct and one playoff spot respectively.

Singapore, who are believed to be among the sixth to eight ranked MAs, will be given one playoff spot.

Other amendments discussed at the meeting included the removal of penalties on the MAs if they take appropriate actions against match-fixing and corruption. Instead, a task force will be set up to deal with these issue with the objective of prevention and investigation.