AFC Strengthens Club vs. Club, J-League Pushes for Chuseok, Korea FA Cup Considers Chuseok, and the K League?

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Club Competitions will be significantly expanded for the 2024-2025 season. The AFC Club Competition will be organized into three distinct competitions: Champions League Elite, Champions League 2, and Challenge League.

The Champions League Elite will feature 24 teams, including the top leagues in major Asian countries and FA Cup winners. Saudi Arabia and Japan will receive three direct tickets. South Korea, China, Qatar, and Iran will receive “2+1” tickets – two direct and one playoff. The direct tickets will be awarded to the league champions and FA Cup winners. One playoff ticket goes to the league runner-up. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Uzbekistan, Iraq, Thailand, Australia, and Malaysia will receive one direct or ‘1+1’ ticket. If the second-placed team from the K League misses the playoffs, they will play in the next tier of competition, Champions League 2.

The Champions League 2 is a rebranded version of the AFC Cup. The number of teams has been reduced from 40 to 32. Instead, the AFC has created a lower tier competition, the Challenge League, with 20 teams. In short, we’ve increased the number of Asian club competitions from two to three, and we’ve effectively separated the teams by country, increasing the quality and breadth of the competition at the same time. This is similar to the way UEFA operates the Champions League, Europa League, and other European leagues, with tiers based on national league quality and ranking. The prize pool for the AFC Champions League Elite will be $12 million (approximately KRW 16 billion), tripling the previous prize pool. The Champions League 2 and AFC Challenge League will also have prize money. By increasing the size of the Asian club competition, the AFC hopes to improve the competitiveness of Asian soccer while keeping pace with the European-centered trend in world soccer.

Asian nations seem to be responding well to the AFC’s changes. One of the most important is the transition to a youth system in their leagues. Of the 47 AFC member nations, about 40, including all of South and Southwest Asia, have a national league that celebrates the festival. South Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Uzbekistan are the only countries that do not have a spring festival. However, Japan is planning to implement a spring festival from the 2026-2027 season. Japan has more dome stadiums and warmer winters than Korea, so there are fewer physical limitations to implementing the festival. Yoshikazu Nonomura, chairman of the Japan Professional Football Association, recently said, “If we just play the J-League, we don’t need to change,” adding, “If we want to create a world-class league and world-class clubs, we need to change the calendar.”메이저놀이터

The Korea Football Association is considering moving the FA Cup to the fall season. The qualifiers, which include amateur teams, would be held in the fall, followed by the main competition, which includes professional teams, the following spring. This would allow professional clubs to focus on the FA Cup in the first half of the year and the K League in the second. With the FA Cup winner earning a direct ticket to the elite AFC Champions League, the FA Cup gains more attention and weight. The KFA has been looking at the idea of switching to the K League for a few years now, but hasn’t made much progress. This is because there are no dome stadiums in Korea to play professional soccer during the long winter months, so there is no way to fill the three-month winter gap. Should the KFA build a few domed stadiums and turn the K League into the Chuseok Festival, or should it remain the Chuseok Festival?

No Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *