AFC stands for Asian Football Confederation. AFC is the controlling body for Asian football clubs. The agency which was established on May 8, 1954, was founded by 12 countries from the Asian continent, namely Afghanistan, Myanmar, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam. The AFC is divided into four regions, which is West Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. There are 47 countries from the four areas that are registered as AFC members. Every four years, the AFC holds an Asia Cup, a soccer competition, between clubs in Asia and is the second highest tournament after the Champions League.
The AFC Cup competition was initially held every four years from 1956 – 2004. Because it held together at the same time with UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) or a.k.a the European Cup, the AFC decided to move the time of the competition to a different year so it would not coincide. After 2004, the next AFC Cup was held in 2007 before returning to the 4th annual competition.
The AFC will hold the 17th AFC Cup football tournament in 2019. This time the AFC Asia Cup will be held in the United Arab Emirates and is the second time the countries host. This tournament will follow by the total of 24 teams which have passed the qualifying round. The United Arab Emirates which hosts automatically passes. In the qualifying round for AFC Cup 2019, the committee uses a new system. In the new order, the qualification process includes three rounds. For the first round, the lowest ranked team will play home and away with two legs to shrink the number of participants to 40 teams. In the second round, the 40 teams will divide into eight groups.
Each group consists of five teams and will play home and away with a round-robin or half-competition system where each participant will meet with all other participants once. From the second round, there will be 8 group winners and four runners-up. The winners and runners-up in the second round will enter the final round. Finally, in the third round, the 24 best teams eliminated in the second round will be divided into six groups. Each group consists of 4 teams that will compete to get the remaining places in the AFC Cup finals. This qualifying round is held March 12, 2015 to March 27, 2018.
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In the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the AFC will use the VAR system that has been used in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. VAR (Video Assistant Referee) system is a video technology used to help referees make decisions. This VAR is expected to minimize referee errors which sometimes do not see the events or ‘drama’ of the field between players. VAR can only be used to take four decisions, namely goals, penalties, red cards, and impose sanctions on players who commit violations. If there is a decision the referee does not comply with the four conditions above, the VAR team will give advise on a review. Based on the experience at the 2018 World Cup yesterday, this VAR seems to be very helpful for the smooth running of the matches later. The AFC Asia Cup 2019 will be held precisely on January 5, 2019, until February 1, 2019.