Australian clubs set for Asian Champions League
MELBOURNE, July 17 (Reuters) - Two teams from Australia's A League will be offered places in the 2007 Asian Champions League after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) decided to cut Thailand and Vietnam's allocation.
'This decision was made based on the technical performance and match results of the Thai and Vietnamese clubs in recent seasons of the AFC Champions League,' an AFC statement said on Monday.
The AFC Executive Committee said Thailand and Vietnam would keep one representative each in the competition with their second places demoted to the AFC Cup.
The AFC said it would meet with officials from Football Federation Australia to discuss qualification, with the two places likely to go to the A League champions and the top club from the regular season.
No Thai team has progressed from the group stages since BEC Tero Sesana reached the inaugural AFC Champions League final in 2003. The country's two representatives in 2006 - Thailand Tobacco Monopoly and Provincial Electrical Authority - were disqualified for failing to comply with player registration deadlines.
Vietnam's teams have faired little better with none progressing past the group phase while their two 2006 entries lost all eight matches.
The Executive Committee confirmed the competition's 28-team format featuring seven groups of four teams, each top side joining last season's champions in the quarter-finals.
Sydney FC were the winners of the inaugural A League title in March and the 2006-07 competition started last weekend.