From the 2020-21 season, India is going to have 3 spots in AFC (Asian Football Confederation) club competitions altogether. The ISL league toppers will get a birth in the group stages of the top-tier continental league i.e. AFC Champions League while the ISL second best team from the league stages along with the topper of league stages of I-League will get a spot in the AFC Cup.
FC Goa qualified for ACL as the league toppers of the ISL in season 2019-20. ATK finished as the winners before getting the second place just above Bengaluru FC in the league stages which secured their place in AFC Cup. Mohun Bagan also finished first in the points table in I-League along with winning the title of second division league of the country, which secured their position in the preliminary rounds of AFC Cup.
As ATK and Mohun Bagan eventually merged together as ATKMB, the merger got a direct entry in the group stages of AFC Cup. Along with this happening, Bengaluru FC emerged as the second team to get a spot in AFC Cup from India. Bengaluru FC finished at the third place in the league stages of ISL this season and this only make them able to get a spot.
While there can be discussions about Chennaiyn FC not getting a spot after finishing as the runner-ups, this should be made clear that AFC gives priority to performances and standings of league stages more than the play-offs. And this single reason is the key of Bengaluru FC getting a edge over Chennaiyn FC.
Writer – Shubham Singh (SpoCombat Admin)
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