Singapore and Vietnam will again be represented in the AFC Champions League after both Member Associations (MAs) were granted a playoff spot in the 2014 edition.
The announcement, which came before Tuesday’s AFC Annual Awards in Kuala Lumpur, confirmed that both countries will take part in Asia’s premier club competition from the playoff stage in the East Asia zone.
This means that Great Eastern-YEO’s S.League champions Tampines Rovers will be flying the flag for Singapore, while Vietnam’s representatives are likely to be Ha Noi T&T, who won the 2013 V-League ahead of SHB Da Nang and Hoang Anh Gia Lai.
The Stags will be Singapore’s first representatives in the competition since Warriors FC, then known as SAFFC, participated in the 2010 edition, while the last time a Vietnamese side played in the group stage was in 2008 when both Binh Duong and Nam Dinh qualified but finished bottom of their respective groups.
It was also revealed that Thailand will have two representatives in the playoffs, meaning Chonburi, along with Muangthong United, will have the chance to join Thai treble champions Buriram United in the group stage.
The remaining MA in East Asia to be granted a playoff spot for next year was Hong Kong, who will be represented by South China, while A-League outfit Melbourne Victory and a Chinese Super League side will also be vying for a spot in the 32.
The playoff format has yet to be revealed and is likely to be done so when the draw is made at AFC House on December 10.
However, it remains to be seen how the governing body will arrange the East Asia playoffs in such a way that will allow seven teams to vie for what is believed to be two spots in the group stages.