AFC to announce schedule of expanded Champions League, AFC Cup

Published January 26, 2021, 7:18 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Philippines Football League champion United City and Kaya-Iloilo will get to know what lies ahead in their continental stints Wednesday when the AFC holds a draw ceremony for its two club competitions.

United City is assured of a direct spot in the prestigious AFC Champions League while Kaya can either qualify to the said competition through a pair of playoff rounds or play in the second-tier AFC Cup for the second straight year.

The draw will be held virtually in Malaysia as the AFC is set to hold an expanded version of both tournaments.

The Champions League group stage will have 40 teams compared to 32 from last year while the AFC Cup has 39 clubs compared to 36 from the cancelled 2020 season.

UCFC is set to become the first Filipino club to earn a direct berth to the Champions League group stage after ruling the shortened PFL season last November in Carmona, Cavite.

Kaya settled for second place to secure a place in the preliminary stages of the Champions League.

For Iloilo to advance, it must beat Australian side Brisbane Roar on April 7 for a chance to take on Chinese club Beijing FC in a playoff for a Champions League berth, otherwise it will be relegated in the ASEAN zone group of the AFC Cup.

The Champions League group stage will be held April 21 to May while the AFC Cup version is slated June 22 to 28, both to be held in a centralized venue.