India to get direct group stage entry to expanded AFC Champions League in 2021 – Reports

AFC Champions League

Indian club football could get a huge boost soon as reports suggest the country could have a representative in the group stages of the AFC Champions League starting 2021. 

The upcoming 2020 season will be the final 32-team affair AFC Champions League as the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) are expanding the continental club competition to accommodate 40 clubs from across the continent starting in 2021.

This is good news for India as they are set to get a third slot in the AFC continental competitions.

At present, India get two slots in the AFC competitions with I-League champions Chennai City FC getting a place in the Preliminary Round 1 of AFC Champions League 2020 while Indian Super League champions Bengaluru FC entering AFC Cup 2020 in the Preliminary Round 2.

But, according to ESPN India, India could get a direct entry into the group stages of the ACL and two additional slots for the AFC Cup in 2021.

“If India’s club and national team performances can string together some wins, then the ISL champions will have a chance of competing with Asia’s elite,” the report said.

No Indian club have ever taken part in the group stages of the AFC Champions League, Asia’s premier club football competition.