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AFC and FIFA give full backing for inaugural Asean Club Championship

12:36 PM MYT 06/11/2019
Gianni Infantino, ASEAN, FIFA
AFC President and FIFA President have both given their full support for the inaugural Asean Club Championship (ACC), which will kick-off next year.

His Excellency Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Gianni Infantino have both lent their their full support for the ACC  that will feature 12 leading clubs from among the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Member Associations. Designed to support and incentivise the leading clubs, the AFF believes that the ACC will be the key platform for the next stage of regional development for the top flight professional game.

The ACC will see each club receive a participation fee from the earliest rounds, together with escalating prize money as they progress through the competition. AFF had discussed the ACC with Shaikh Salman in Tajikstan in September before meeting Mr Infantino in Bangkok recently.

Major General Sameth, along with FA of Thailand President Pol. Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung, AFF General Secretary Winston Lee, met up with nfantino who was in Bangkok last week to sign an MOU with the ASEAN Secretariat to jointly boost football in the Southeast Asian region. During his meeting with the ASEAN leaders, Infantino also took the time to share the ACC with the leaders.

“We took time to put this integrated and holistic plan together as there were numerous factors to consider, including ensuring no conflict in scheduling with the domestic leagues, FIFA and AFC fixtures including that of the expanded ACL. We also had to look into other crucial matters like branding, prize money and format of competition.

"Then, there were the negotiations with the various commercial partners over the past months before securing the approval of the AFF Council. I am pleased to share that the ACC was unanimously approved by all the Member Associations that were present at the AFF Special Council Meeting,” said Sameth. 

The AFF President felt the introduction of the ACC would raise the standard of the national teams and enhance the profiles of the clubs as well as leagues in the region. Infantino, accompanied by Sameth, Somyot, Winston and other FA of Thailand officials, attended the Thai FA Cup final between Ratchaburi FC and Port FC.

Ironically, the winning club, Port FC, could find its way into ACC next year as some nations, including Thailand, will be eligible to submit two entries. The recent announcement by FIFA on the expanded Club World Cup in 2021 is a positive development for the ACC. The increase could pave the way for the possibility of the winner of the ACC to earn a place in the final rounds of the FIFA Club World Cup.


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