The Indian Super League champions will earn the additional slot allotted by the Asian Football Confederation to India. It will be an extra berth in the AFC Cup, a release from the All India Football Federation confirmed on Tuesday.
The AIFF announced the criteria for AFC club competition slots from 2021 onward.
The winner of the Indian Super League’s league phase will get the direct entry into the Asian Champions League, like FC Goa are set to for topping the table this season. The I-League champions will get a direct slot in the AFC Cup as a special dispensation for three years. The winner of the ISL play-offs (semi-finals followed by the final) will now get the additional slot into the AFC Cup play-offs.
The AFC Champions League spot was to go to the league stage winners of the ISL. However, it has now been confirmed who will get the AFC Cup slots.
The same allocation of slots is set to be followed going forward.
This is the first time that India has a direct AFCCL entry since the continental club competition started in 2002. Earlier, Indian clubs were drawn in the AFC Champions League playoffs but that will no longer be the case as India has been allotted a direct slot after the format expanded from 32 to 40 teams from 2021.
India additionally have two AFC quotas with the ISL winners earning a place in the preliminary round of the AFC Champions League and the I-League champions going through to the group stages of the AFC Cup.
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