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Football Manager Competitions: The Future Is Asia

Football Manager competitions explained.

We will continue today with our second episode of the Football Manager Competitions Guide and we’ll talk about the Asian zone, but before that I have a couple appends to make to my previous post about Europe. First I’m going to say this for the newbies, competition names in Football Manager are by default different from the ones in real life due to licensing issues, so the UEFA Champions League is actually named European Champions Cup, while UEFA Europa League is under the name of EURO Cup. There is a way to correct that – download the real names fix.

The second append targets the Pentagon challenge and similar challenges as we talked about rankings but I didn’t tell you which are the top European nations at the start of the game. Well, hopefully this screenshot will help you decide which countries are best suitable for European success, here are the top 10 nations and their clubs distribution for competitions phases:

european top nations

Okay and now we can move on to Asia. As the motto says, football in Asia is currently under a development project which started around the year of 2003, when the first major step was made by introducing a unique innovation to help improve the standards of football. The innovation was called “Vision Asia” and the strategic approach was focused on 11 elements, all considered crucial for a successful outcome: administration, marketing, youth and coaches, referees, sport medicine, clubs, competitions, players, media and fans. These elements determined a level of standards to be reached by all football associations in Asia and based on a given score they were labeled as either “mature”, “developing” or “emerging”. But more about later…

AFC: Asian Football Confederation

afcThe Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of association football in Asia. It was formed officially in 1954 in Manila, Philippines, and the main headquarters is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The AFC has 47 member countries, mostly located on the Asian continent. These are divided into 4 regions, as follows (playable nations are highlighted in red):

afc zones

All Asian competitions are organized by the AFC, including the Asian Cup for the Internationals and the club major tournaments AFC (Asian) Champions League and the AFC Cup (Asian Confederation Cup in FM). Qualification to the competitions is available to clubs from AFC-affiliated countries that fall into one of the three categories as laid out in their ‘Vision Asia’ document. Countries which are ‘mature’ nations are entered into the AFC Champions League, ‘developing’ nations are entered into the AFC Cup while the ’emerging’ nations are eligible to participate in the AFC Cup qualifying play-off.

AFC (Asian) Champions League

afc champions league

The competition was introduced in 2002, replacing the Asian Club Champion which had run since 1985. It is the most important club competition in Asia, and is equivalent to the UEFA Champions League competition. The year of 2009 introduced some significant changes to the competition format, as the year represented another step in the development of Asian football. Therefore, since 2009 the champions do not qualify automatically for the following year competition, but they still qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup.

Teams are split into east and west zones to progress separately in the tournament, and since 2014 the number of teams that each association enters into the Champions League is determined through a criteria as set by the AFC Committee, which is actually a modified version of the UEFA coefficient. According to the criteria, the associations are ranked based on their national team’s and clubs’ performance over the last four years in AFC competitions, with the allocation of slots for the 2015 and 2016 seasons determined by the 2014 rankings.

afc champions league phases

The 2015 Champions League season will start in-game on the 31st of January 2015 and will be the 34th edition of the tournament. Because the 2014 rankings determines the seedings for the next year’s edition we can’t possibly know how they will look like so instead I have given you a look into the competition rules, it is worth noting that at the start of the game, the allocation from the 8 playable leagues will be as follows,

  • South Korea: 4 teams qualify for Asian CL groups phase
  • China: 3 teams qualify for Asian CL groups stage, one team qualifies for Asian CL Third Qual. Round
  • Australia: 2 teams qualify for Asian CL groups stage, one team qualifies for Asian CL Third Qual. Round
  • Hong Kong: top team qualifies for Asian CL First Qual. Round
  • India: top team qualifies for Asian CL First Qual. Round
  • Indonesia: top team qualifies for Asian CL First Qual. Round
  • Malaysia: none
  • Singapore: none

Squad Registration: There are three registration windows, the first one opens right before the qualifying stages and it closes on the 24th of January. Each participating club must register a minimum of 18 players, but no more than 30. The match squad must have no more than 4 foreign players, and no more than 3 foreign players in the first eleven (not including Asian players).

AFC Cup (Asian Confederation Cup)

afc cup

The AFC Cup is an annual international competition between domestic clubs run by the Asian Football Confederation. Qualification to the competition is available to clubs from AFC-affiliated countries that fall into the ‘developing nations’ category as laid out in the ‘Vision Asia’ document. Countries which are ’emerging’ nations are also eligible to participate in the AFC Cup qualifying play-off.

The ‘developing nations’ are the fourteen ‘next-best’ countries that lie outside the top-14 countries in the AFC region which send their clubs to the more prestigious AFC Champions League. Following the reform in 2009, finalists of the AFC Cup meeting AFC’s criteria and certain other eligible teams are allowed to compete in the qualifying round of AFC Champions League with the losers demoted to play in the AFC Cup.

afc cup phases

The 2015 AFC Cup season will start on the 18th of February 2015. Only two from the eight playable leagues will have places allocated for this competition, while the other six have teams competing in the Champions League. Both Malaysia and Singapore have two teams that will qualify for the AFC Cup (Asian Confederation Cup) at the start of the game. Of course, once the 2014 season is completed, the association rankings will change so the seedings could be different than the ones presented above.

One very important aspect is that there are no player restrictions in this competition, but you should always be careful especially if you want the Champions League trophy, where you can only use a maximum of 4 foreign players – as previously mentioned.

There are also some prize money for both competitions that could help you improve your club’s finances, as you can see from the table:

asian prize money

Well, not quite the massive amounts from the European zone but succeeding in the Asian Champions League clearly means a nice boost for your club, now let’s check the top 10 associations from Asia, as they stand at the start of the game in July 2014:

asian top nations

Managing in Asia can be quite confusing at first, but the challenge gets interesting as soon as you go. Given that there are only 8 playable leagues you will have to be really careful at choosing your team for the Pentagon save. If you start here it seems that the best chance is to go for either China, South Korea or Australia simply because your place in the groups phase is already secured and your teams’ profile can get close enough to the ones from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where the sheiks money make their clubs a real threat for your challenge. Hopefully this guide will be able to help you, see you next time and feel free to leave any comments below.

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