The AFC Cup was created when the Asian Champions' League was restricted to 14 'mature' member associations of AFC; the teams from 14 so-called 'developing' members were relegated to this secondary tournament. The remaining 17 'emerging' countries were moved to the 'third level' Presidents Cup, first held 2005.
Since then, there has been some movement between the countries considered fit for the Champions League and those entering the AFC Cup, with even a small qualifying section between the two tournaments set up from the 2009 edition onwards. However, the Presidents Cup proved a graveyard for the so-called 'emerging' countries, with no movement from there to the AFC Cup until 2010 (though three countries, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Turkmenistan, were 'relegated' from the AFC Cup to the Presidents Cup over the years, suggesting the overall level of Asian football had in fact been moving backwards with (as of 2010) only 25 countries (among the 45 members in 2004, when Australia was still member of the OFC) classified as either 'mature' or 'developing' and 20 as just 'emerging'). In 2012, Myanmar returned to the AFC Cup, followed by Tajikistan in 2013, and Kyrgyzstan in 2014; the AFC apparently considered the overall level to be improving again, as the Presidents Cup was discontinued ater the 2014 edition, all relevant countries now eligible to enter the AFC Cup.
2004 Al-Jaish (Damascus) 2005 Al-Faysali (Amman) 2006 Al-Faysali (Amman) 2007 Shabab Al-Ordon (Amman) 2008 Muharraq 2009 Al-Kuwait SC (Kaifan) 2010 Al-Ittihad (Aleppo) 2011 Nasaf Qarshi 2012 Al-Kuwait SC (Kaifan) 2013 Al-Kuwait SC (Kaifan) 2014 Al-Qadisiya (Kuwait) 2015 Darul Takzim FC (Johor) 2016 2017
2005 Regar-TadAZ Tursunzade 2006 Dordoy-Dinamo Naryn 2007 Dordoy-Dinamo Naryn 2008 Regar-TadAZ Tursunzade 2009 Regar-TadAZ Tursunzade 2010 Yadanarbon FC 2011 Taipower 2012 Istiqlol Dushanbe 2013 Balkan Balkanabat 2014 HTTU Ashgabat NB: tournament discontinued after the 10th edition in 2014 (and merged into the AFC Cup).
Prepared and maintained by Karel Stokkermans for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
Author: Karel Stokkermans
Last updated: 8 Sep 2016
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