The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have announced they will increase the number of teams in the AFC Champions League and AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
After an AFC executive committee meeting for the 2019-2023 cycle, it was decided further investment would be made in these two competitions.
Starting in 2021, the AFC Champions League will be expanded to include 40 teams in the continental competition. Eight more clubs will be included in the tournament, with four more sides added in both of the East and West zones.
The expansion will occur without any change to the existing slots for the best six Member Associations.
The AFC Women’s Asian Cup will expand to 12 teams in 2022, up from the eight teams who participated in the tournament last year in Jordan. The AFC still have to decide who will host the 2022 tournament, with countries including Chinese Taipei, India and Uzbekistan all submitting proposals.
“As you know we have always looked to grow the women’s game in Asia with new initiatives and that has been rewarded by world champions in FIFA competitions at every level,” AFC Vice President Saoud Al Mohannadi told committee members.
“We were the first Confederation to have at least five women ExCo Members and one of the few to appoint a woman referee to men’s competitions in the AFC Cup.
“And one of our Executive Members, Kanya Keomany, will be the first female match commissioner to be appointed for a men’s club competition final – the AFC Cup final at the start of next month.
“The start of the new Commercial cycle, with our exclusive partners, DDMC Fortis, is the perfect time to launch this new era in Asian football. It will be an era of excellence and inclusiveness.”