Saturday, July 14, 2012
Stepping-up to AFC Cup
There are 12 clubs that currently enter the AFC President's Cup. There are another 7 member nations of AFC who do not enter any club cup competition, namely Afghanistan, Brunei, North Korea, Guam, Laos, Macau and Philippines. Of the twelve teams, all champions of their respective domestic league championships in 2011, which country might be able to convince the AFC that they should be elevated? To do so they will have to meet minimum requirements set by the AFC and which apply to the federation, the league competition and the clubs themselves.
In Cambodia the C-League already meets conditions such as the number of teams in the top division, number of matches, duration of the season, league regulations and a disciplinary code. Other regulations include home and away matches (though it doesn't stipulate each club must have their own ground), there must be 1,000 minimum attendances at the games, and they must reach a certain technical standard according to the AFC system, including suitable floodlighting, dressing room facilities, etc. There cannot have been any match fixing in the previous year, the C-League management must have competition, marketing, media and financial management structures in place, as well as issuing one of the following; league guidebook, match-day programmes or a suitable website.
For the clubs, they must have a media officer, as well as a media room, TV broadcasting facilities and press conferences after each game. The clubs must be coached by a qualified AFC B-licensed coach. There are far more stringent conditions if a country is keen to make the AFC Champions League. For Cambodia to gain elevation to the AFC Cup - regarded as a competition for 'developing nations' - as Myanmar have done this year, doesn't appear to be that difficult. There needs to be a will and determination by the federation to meet the requirements, which they didn't appear keen to try last season. Let's hope that if invited again this year, that the federation pick up the gauntlet thrown down by the AFC.