Thailand Gain Extra Champions League Spot in 2021

 

The Asian Champions League, which Port crashed out of in the qualifying stages this year, is expanding from 32 to 40 teams from the 2021 season. This, along with the fact that Thailand moved past Australia to in the AFC’s club rankings, means that Thailand will go from 1 automatic spot in the group stages and 2 in the qualifiers to 2 automatic spots in the group stages and 2 in the qualifiers.

Therefore, in 2021, the T1 Champions and the FA Cup winners will go straight in to the AFC Champions League group stages, while 2nd and 3rd place in T1 will go in to the qualifiers.

This is obviously good news for Port, although it has come a year too late, as our FA Cup win in 2019 would have meant automatic ACL qualification had it come a year later. Still, with high hopes of finishing towards the top of T1, Port will most likely have a shot at Asia’s premier club competition once again, whether through automatic qualification or qualifiers.

 

 

In related news, the team who shocked Port in ACL Qualification earlier this year, Ceres Negros, will reportedly not be competing when their domestic league restarts. After a few seasons of uncertainty following boardroom legal disputes and financial difficulty, the erstwhile Filipino champions are releasing all their players and will cease to exist. Their last stand in defeating Port and putting up impressive resistance against FC Tokyo was to be their ACL swan song.

 

Tom Earls

Tom Earls

Having moved to Thailand aged 10, Tom has been playing or watching football in Thailand for more than 18 years. A keen follower of the Thai National Team and an avid fan of Port FC, he is a regular contributor to The Sandpit.

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