Pune FC to play AFC Champions League Playoffs

India have been awarded an Asian Champions League Play-off slot after a gap of two years.

Pune FC awarded ACL Playoffs spot
Pune FC, who hold the AFC and Indian Club Licence will be representing India in the Play-offs for a berth in the prestigious AFC Champions League.

Two AFC Cup slots have also been allocated to India with a caveat that should Pune FC fail to qualify for the Main Round of the AFC Champions League via the Playoffs they take up the one AFC Cup slot with Airtel I-League Champions Churchill Brothers being the other.

However, if Pune FC make it to the 2014 AFC Champions League, the door will be open for AFC Cup semi-finalists Kingfisher East Bengal who finished third in the Airtel I-League last season to try and better their performance in the International arena.

Dempo SC were the last Indian Club to play in the Play-offs of the AFC Champions League in 2011 where they lost to Qatar Stars League heavyweights Al Sadd.

Nandan Piramal, Pune FC Owner said: “When we started Pune Football Club (PFC) in 2007, one of our goals was to represent India in the AFC Champions League. It is indeed a proud moment for us to have achieved that milestone. This was due to a lot of hard work on the part of the entire PFC family – the players, the coaches, the support staff within the PFC family and of course, the fans.”

Pune FC holds the distinction of being the only club in India to boast of the AFC and Indian License and will play in East Zone of the competition.

The draw for the Play-off will be made on 10th December, 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The winner of the Play-off tie will qualify for the group stage of the AFC Champions League 2014. However, if Pune FC fails to come on top in the Play-off, they are guaranteed an AFC Cup berth.
Chirag Tanna, Pune FC Head Operations said: “This is a proud moment. It has truly been a team effort to get here. On the field the players and coaches did their bit and off the field the administrative staff ensured that we fulfilled the licensing criteria. As a club we have to keep improving on and off the field and playing against other top clubs in Asia will only help us get better.”

The 2014 AFC Champions League will be the 33rd edition of the top-level Asian club football tournament organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and the 12th under the current AFC Champions League title.

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