This was revealed by Football Association of Thailand (FAT) secretary-general Patit Supaphong, who attended an online meeting of representatives of national associations with the FIFA, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and UEFA officials yesterday (June 25).
At present, Asia’s premier club football competition features 32 teams who are drawn into eight groups of four teams each.
Of the eight groups, four feature clubs from the West Zone (Groups A to D) while the other four groups feature teams from East Zone (Groups E to H).
Patit said the AFC has now decided to make it a 40-team affair meaning that the ongoing season will be the final edition of the AFC Champions League featuring 32 teams.
“From the 2021 season, the ACL will be expanded to 40 clubs with an extra group of four being added in both the East and West Zones and further growing the reputation of one of the richest continental club competitions in the world,” the AFC said.
Patit added that this would mean that Thailand’s quota in the group stage of the club competition would be doubled to two teams.
The decision was taken during the second AFC Executive Committee meeting of the 2019-2023 cycle that was chaired by AFC vice-president and Fifa Council member Saoud Al Mohannadi in Da Nang, Vietnam.