Bengaluru FC granted AFC Cup playoff spot

Bengaluru FC will feature in the AFC Cup play-off next year, while FC Goa will play in the AFC Champions League group stage and ATK Mohun Bagan in the AFC Cup group stage.

Bengaluru FC was eliminated in the preliminary qualifying play-offs stage in the 2020 edition.   -  K. Murali Kumar

The AIFF, on Thursday, announced Bengaluru FC (BFC) as India’s third team in the 2021 AFC continental club competitions. The side will feature in the AFC Cup play-off next year, while FC Goa will play in the AFC Champions League group stage and ATK Mohun Bagan in the AFC Cup group stage.

The play-off slot was originally reserved for the winner of the ISL play-offs. ATK emerged on top, but after its agreement to form a joint venture with I-League winner Mohun Bagan, the Kolkata entity chose the direct entry into the group stage secured by the latter.

In such a scenario, the play-off position should have gone to the runner-up in the ISL league phase. Since ATK was the runner-up, BFC, which finished third, earned the honour. The decision by the AIFF means that all three Asia spots reserved for Indian sides for 2021 have gone to ISL clubs.

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