Raising professional club standards in Asia upheld by AFC Club Licensing Task Force

The AFC

The AFC Club Licensing Task Force has complimented the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s Member Associations (MAs) for their commitment to adapting their Club Licensing Systems to the changes in the new AFC club competition season at its fourth meeting.

The updated AFC Club Licensing Regulations (2022 Edition) came into force on July 29, 2022 and incorporated several important updates that are applicable when granting licences to participating clubs in the AFC Club Competitions from the 2023/2024 season onwards.

In his opening address, Chairperson Hamad Mohamed Aljneibi recognised the efforts of some MAs towards implementing the new adjustments based on the updated regulations.

Aljneibi said in a statement released by AFC:

“I would like to acknowledge our collective efforts to raise professionalism in Asian club football despite the challenges. Club licensing was introduced in Asia more than a decade ago and it continues to play an integral role in uplifting the standards of our sport on the Continent.”

“The AFC’s MAs have received strong support throughout this period of change and I am certain that these latest developments will steer Asian football in the right direction and reaffirm the AFC’s position as a model Confederation.”

The Task Force reviewed several Club Licensing Quality standard requirements of the Licensors in implementing the Club Licensing system and decided to remove the suspension imposed on the Tajikistan Football Federation’s Club Licensing Administration after they rectified most of the defects.

Further, the Task Force agreed to uphold the suspension of the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran Club Licensing Administration until all defects have been addressed and rectified to the satisfaction of the AFC General Secretariat.

Taking into consideration the effects of the pandemic on most MAs and the transitioning to the new AFC club competition season, the Task Force decided to extend the implementation of the Futsal Club Licensing from 2024 to 2025.

The Task Force also received updates on the progress of the Women’s Club Licensing Regulations, launched earlier with the aim of elevating the development of the women’s game on the Continent.

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania report of AFC Champions League assesses the cost of competition for players and clubs

FIFPRO Asia/Oceania has published a report on key financial findings from the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) flagship club competition, the AFC Champions League (ACL).

The report, AFC Champions League Analysis Report: Counting the cost for players and clubs, was produced alongside sporting intelligence agency Twenty First Group (TFG).

This analysis is in response to the announcement of AFC Champions League Elite (ACLE) commencing in July this year, as revealed by the AFC in December 2022.

Based on TFG’s analysis, insights and feedback from participating players and clubs, the report addresses the feasibility of running ACLE with key factors including on-field quality and competitive balance, attendances and fan engagement, economics for clubs and players, travel and workload, competition design, and football development outcomes.

The research undertaken focusses on the value of introducing ACLE, based on the current operations of the ACL.

“This report analyses the merits and drawbacks of the current AFC Champions League based on various data and the results indicate that the merits do not outweigh the drawbacks for most players and clubs, making it an unsustainable system,” FIFPRO Asia/Oceania Chair Takuya Yamazaki outlines in the report.

“However, this does not mean that the future of football in Asia is bleak. On the contrary, we believe that this economically significant region can lead a discussion for truly sustainable competition formats.”

The report is the most comprehensive public analysis of the ACL and includes recommendations for what the AFC should be implementing.

“For players, the development of competitions is central to their employment conditions and future opportunities. As its primary workforce, the players are determined to play their role to shape a sustainable and innovation-driven future for the football sector in Asia,” Yamazaki added.

World Leagues Forum is involved in representing professional football leagues on a global level. General Secretary Jerome Perlemuter explained that collaboration between all stakeholders in the Asian region would help shape and deliver sustainable competitions.

“FIFPRO’s contribution to shaping the future of Asian continental competitions is most welcome,” Perlemuter said.

“Sustainable football development requires confederations, leagues and players to work together with a common objective to shape high potential continental competitions in a consistent global calendar. In this context, it is important to consider economic, geographical and cultural specificities. We look forward to continuing these discussions with FIFPRO and all stakeholders.”

To see the report in full, you can do so here.

Wellington Phoenix team up with Chinese outfit Tianjin Tiger

Wellington Phoenix have partnered with Chinese Super League team Tianjin Tiger to boost football growth in both nations.

As part of the Wellington Phoenix Tianjin Tiger Sister City Friendship, the clubs have agreed to hold an annual encounter between their men’s first teams.

The inaugural Wellington Phoenix F.C. vs. Tianjin Tiger F.C. Sister City Shield match is set to take place in Tianjin this September, with the second in Wellington next year.

The strategic collaboration was formed after Phoenix general manager David Dome visited Tianjin in September as part of a business delegation headed by Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau.

The club hosted a delegation from Tianjin, and the two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding at the Mayor’s office.

Phoenix general manager David Dome was thrilled with the partnership going through.

“The mayoral delegation to China last year was invaluable and I’m thrilled about this partnership with Tianjin Jinmen Tiger, which will be of benefit to the club on multiple levels,” he said via press release.

“Not only will the men get to play a Chinese Super League side as part of their A-League pre-season each year, but the academy will soon benefit from an influx of footballers from Tianjin.

“We’re looking to grow our academy to have an international component and Tianjin Jinmen have committed to sending some young players to Wellington to attend training camps in July and we’re discussing the possibility of their juniors being part of a new international academy annual programme.

“International students are essential for the secondary and tertiary education sector in Wellington and we are evaluating how an elite international academy focused on football can be part of New Zealand’s international education offering.”

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau added that the city is excited about the opportunity. 

“I’d like to congratulate David Dome and the wider team for the work they’ve done on this MoU,” he stated via press release.

“I’m beyond stoked that the delegation last September has resulted in this MoU between the Wellington Phoenix and Tianjin Jinmen Tiger. 

“The development opportunities for both the clubs will be invaluable to not only football but also our cities.”

The Phoenix are enjoying a successful A-league campaign where they currently sit top of the table 18 games into the season.

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