KUALA LUMPUR (AP) – The Asian Champions League is set to move closer to its European namesake in its schedule and the number of foreign players each team is allowed, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said yesterday.
From September 2023, the continent’s flagship event will transition to an autumn-spring format that replaces the current spring-autumn cycle that has been in place since 2004.
The decision is aimed, the AFC said in a statement, to help Asia’s top clubs “benefit from more synchronised transfer windows, improved opportunities to sign quality players and coaches with respect to worldwide leagues’ seasons, and a more even distribution of club matches annually to maintain a balance with National Team matches.”
Scheduling challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2022 World Cup in November and December in Qatar had already forced changes to the competition. The final stages of the 2022 Champions League will take place in early 2023.
In addition, from next year, teams will be able to field six foreign players in games, an increase of two from the current limit, though the stipulation that one of these players must be from another Asian nation remains.