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AFC Champions League to receive major facelift

After recent success, the Asian Football Confederation Champions League is about to be improved. AFC President Mohamed bin Hammam sees a positive future for the AFC Champions League as it expands from 28 to 32 teams and more stringent restrictions will be set to improve the quality of the teams competing.

Tournament prize money will also increase with the eventual winners pocketing $1.5 million plus bonuses they receive during the rounds.

"We have been working on it for three years. It was in the drafting stage until now," bin Hammam said on the sidelines of the Asian Football Confederation's annual awards ceremony and end-of-year meetings. "Next year, we are going to implement it and in the future we hope the Asian league will be able to compete with Europe."

To improve the overall quality of Asia's premier club competition, guidelines will need to be met by all clubs and leagues hoping to participate.

Certain standards regarding team affairs, attendances, marketing, stadiums and media arrangements will have to be met by both club and league in order to qualify.

"Officials must be paid and players have to be paid generously," he added.

"We have 46 member nations in the confederation but hardly 10 countries are competitive.

"The end product has to be entertaining. Football is all about entertainment. You can't expect fans to come and watch a boring game."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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