Asian Football Confederation
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Asian Football Confederation

Asian Football Confederation
Asian Football Confederation (logo).svg
Asian Football Confederation member associations map.svg
MottoOne Asia One Goal
Formation8 May 1954; 66 years ago (1954-05-08)
Founded atManila, Philippines
TypeSports organisation
HeadquartersBukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Region served
Asia (AFC)
47 member associations
Official language
English, Arabic[1]
Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa
Vice Presidents
General Secretary
Windsor John[2][3]
Parent organization

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is one of the six continental confederations within FIFA and is the governing body of association football in Asia and Australia. It has 47 member countries, mostly located on the Asian continent, but excludes the transcontinental countries with territory in both Europe and Asia - Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkey - which are instead members of UEFA. Three other states located geographically along the western fringe of Asia - Cyprus, Armenia and Israel - are also UEFA members. On the other hand, Australia, formerly in the OFC, joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2006. Guam, a territory of the United States, and the Northern Mariana Islands, one of the two Commonwealths of the United States are also AFC members that are geographically in Oceania. Hong Kong and Macau, although not independent countries (both are Special administrative regions of China), are also members of the AFC.

The AFC was officially formed on 8 May 1954 in Manila, Philippines, on the sidelines of the second Asian Games. The main headquarters is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The current president is Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain.


The Asian Football Confederation was founded on 8 May 1954. Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Republic of China (Chinese Taipei), Hong Kong, Iran, India, Israel, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore and South Vietnam were founding members.[4][5]

The AFC Asian Cup is the second-oldest continental football competition in the world, with four teams taking part in the first edition in the then-British Hong Kong in 1956.[6]

The Asian Ladies Football Confederation (ALFC) is the section of the AFC who manage women's football in Asia. The group was independently founded in April 1968 in a meeting involving Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. In 1986 the ALFC merged with the AFC.[7] The Asian Ladies Football Confederation helped organize the AFC Women's Asian Cup, first held in 1975, as well as the AFC's AFC U-19 Women's Championship and the AFC U-17 Women's Asian Championship.[]


The AFC has been accused of its political nepotism and corruption within the federation.

Hakeem al-Araibi, Bahraini footballer turned political refugee in Australia, was arrested by Thai police on his honeymoon to Thailand in November 2018. He faced extradition charges from the Bahraini government on the false accusation over his involvement in the Bahraini uprising of 2011 that he instigated the attack on a police station. As Thailand did not sign the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Thai economic interests with Bahrain, and the ruling president of the AFC, Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, is a member of Bahraini Royal family, fear that the AFC might set up as culprit for the deportation, triggered international outcry. Australia and FIFA eventually intervened and Thai officials would release Hakeem in February 2019, but this highlighted rampant political corruption in the AFC.[8][9]

The AFC Asian Cup is also marked with numerous instances of political interference. One of these was the case of Israel, as the team used to be a member of the AFC but following Yom Kippur War and increasing tensions against the Arab AFC members, Israel was expelled from the AFC in 1974 and had to compete in OFC until being granted UEFA membership in 1990.[10] Meanwhile, similar cases also exist in other AFC tournaments like the one between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Following the 2016 attack on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran, Saudi Arabia has rejected playing with Iran and even threatens to withdraw if the AFC refuses to follow, and even extended it to international level.[11] Tensions between the two Koreas during the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification had led North Korea to withdraw from hosting the South Korean team and refusing to display the South Korean flag and play their national anthem. As a result, North Korea's home matches were moved to Shanghai.[12]

In the 2019 AFC Asian Cup held in the United Arab Emirates, Qatari fans were barred from entering the country as part of the ongoing Qatar diplomatic crisis, despite the earlier slogan "Bringing Asia Together", although the Emirati government later announced that it would permit Qatari citizens temporary entry into the country pending approval from Emirati authorities.[13] According to a report, Saoud al-Mohannadi, a Qatari national who is the AFC vice-president and chairman of the organizing committee for the Asian Cup, was unable to enter the UAE two days prior to the tournament's start because Emirati authorities had not yet cleared him.[14] The director of the 2019 AFC Organizing Committee denied reports that Al Mohannadi was refused entry and declared that Al Mohannadi has arrived on Friday morning and was preparing for his meetings. The director stated that there was no evidence that shows he was unable to enter and stated that this news has "political purposes". He stated, "We try to keep sports away from politics."[15] Since then, the Qatari team faced imminent discrimination from the host nation, and even in the semi-finals when Qatar faced up host nation, UAE supporters threw bottles and footwear into the match after Qatari players scored their second goal, the latter is considered deeply offensive in the Middle East. One of the Qatari players, Salem Al Hajri, was struck on the head with a shoe after Qatar scored its third goal. This conduct was preceded by booing the Qatari national anthem. The two countries had had a hostile relationship and had cut ties due to the ongoing diplomatic crisis.[16] Qatar won 4-0 despite the situation, reaching their first Asian Cup final and would go on to win the tournament for the first time.[17][18][19] Afterwards, the AFC declared that it would conduct an investigation into the proceedings,[18][20] eventually punished the UAEFA over the incident, fined $150,000 US dollars for the incident and had to play their first 2022 and 2023 qualification game in closed doors.[21] However, on 21 September, AFC had mysteriously lifted the ban just a few weeks before the match has begun.[22]

During the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, North Korea reluctantly agreed to host the South Korean team in Pyongyang, the first time North Korea hosted South Korea at home in a competitive match. Enthusiasm thus ran high due to aspiration of reconciliation between two Koreas, only to be later shattered by the North Korean Government banning supporters from entering the stadium, and aggressive performance by the Northern players to the Southern counterparts. The match ended a goalless draw, but as for the result of controversies, South Korea decided to pull out the bid for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, and accused North Korea of political meddling in sports. The AFC was accused of doing little about the case, which led to the AFC to decide the final of the 2019 AFC Cup would not be hosted in North Korea.[23]

In 2020 AFC Champions League, the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran received a letter from the AFC on 17 January 2020 announcing that teams from Iran would not be allowed to host their home matches in their country due to security concerns.[24][25] The four AFC Champions League teams from Iran announced on 18 January 2020 that they would withdraw from the tournament if the ban was not reversed.[26][27] The AFC announced on 23 January 2020 that any group stage matches which the Iranian teams were supposed to host on matchdays 1, 2 and 3 would be switched with the corresponding away matches to allow time to reassess the security concerns in the country.[28][29][30]

On 9 March 2020, FIFA announced in a statement that matches between Asian qualifiers for World Cup 2022, which were scheduled for March and June, are postponed to a later time. The decision has been made due to the spread of SARS-CoV-2. [31] On August 12 2020, FIFA and the AFC have jointly decided that the upcoming qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023, originally scheduled to take place during the international match windows in October and November 2020, will be rescheduled to 2021.[32]

AFC Executive Committee

AFC President and FIFA Senior Vice President[33]
FIFA Council Members[33]
AFC Vice Presidents[33]
AFC Executive Committee Members[33]
  • Iraq Abed-Alkhaliq Masoud Ahmed
  • Lebanon Hachem Haider
  • Oman Salem Said Salem Al Wahaibi
  • Yemen Hamid Mohammed Ali Al-Shaibani
  • Bhutan Dasho Ugen Tsechup Dorji
  • Australia Chris Nikou
  • Malaysia Hamidin Mohd Amin
  • Vietnam Tran Quoc Tuan
  • Hong Kong Fok Kai Shan Eric
  • State of Palestine Susan Shalabi Molano
  • Laos Kanya Keomany
  • North Korea Han Un-gyong
General Secretary
  • Malaysia Windsor John

Member associations

AFC regional federations
AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

AFC National League The AFC has 47 member associations which split into five regions. Several nations proposed a South West Asian Federation but that will not interfere with AFC zones.[34][35][36]

Code Association National teams Founded FIFA
West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) (12)
BHR  Bahrain (M, W) 1957 1968 1969 Yes
IRQ  Iraq (M, W) 1948 1950 1970 Yes
JOR  Jordan (M, W) 1949 1956 1970 Yes
KUW  Kuwait (M, W) 1952 1964 1964 Yes
LBN  Lebanon (M, W) 1933 1936 1964 Yes
OMA  Oman (M, W) 1978 1980 1980 Yes
PLE  Palestine (M, W) 1928 1995 1995 Yes
QAT  Qatar (M, W) 1960 1972 1974 Yes
KSA  Saudi Arabia (M) 1956 1956 1972 Yes
SYR  Syria (M, W) 1936 1937 1970 Yes
UAE  United Arab Emirates (M, W) 1971 1974 1974 Yes
YEM  Yemen (M, W) 1962 1980 1980 Yes
Central Asian Football Association (CAFA) (6)
AFG  Afghanistan (M, W) 1933 1948 1954 Yes
IRN  Iran (M, W) 1920 1948 1954 Yes
KGZ  Kyrgyzstan (M, W) 1992 1994 1993 Yes
TJK  Tajikistan (M, W) 1936 1994 1993 Yes
TKM  Turkmenistan (M, W) 1992 1994 1993 Yes
UZB  Uzbekistan (M, W) 1946 1994 1993 Yes
South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) (7)
BAN  Bangladesh (M, W) 1972 1976 1974 Yes
BHU  Bhutan (M, W) 1983 2000 1993 Yes
IND  India (M, W) 1937 1948 1954 Yes
MDV  Maldives (M, W) 1982 1986 1984 Yes
NEP    Nepal (M, W) 1951 1972 1954 Yes
PAK  Pakistan (M, W) 1947 1948 1954 Yes
SRI  Sri Lanka (M, W) 1939 1952 1954 Yes
ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) (12)
AUS  Australia[m 1][m 2] (M, W) 1961 1963 2006 Yes[m 3]
BRU  Brunei (M, W) 1952 1972 1969 Yes
CAM  Cambodia (M, W) 1933 1954 1954 Yes
IDN  Indonesia (M, W) 1930 1952 1954 Yes
LAO  Laos (M, W) 1951 1952 1968 Yes
MAS  Malaysia (M, W) 1933 1954 1954 Yes
MYA  Myanmar (M, W) 1947 1948 1954 Yes
PHI  Philippines (M, W) 1907 1930 1954 Yes
SIN  Singapore (M, W) 1892 1952 1954 Yes
THA  Thailand (M, W) 1916 1925 1954 Yes
TLS  Timor-Leste (M, W) 2002 2005 2002 Yes
VIE  Vietnam (M, W) 1960 1952 1954 Yes
East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) (10)
CHN  China PR (M, W) 1924 1931 1974 Yes
TPE  Chinese Taipei[m 4] (M, W) 1936 1954 1954 Yes
GUM  Guam[m 1] (M, W) 1975 1996 1991 Yes[m 3]
HKG  Hong Kong (M, W) 1914 1954 1954 Yes
JPN  Japan (M, W) 1921 1921 1954 Yes
PRK  North Korea (M, W) 1945 1958 1974 Yes
KOR  South Korea (M, W) 1928 1948 1954 Yes
MAC  Macau (M, W) 1939 1978 1978 No[m 5]
MNG  Mongolia (M, W) 1959 1998 1993 Yes
NMI  Northern Mariana Islands[m 1][m 6] (M, W) 2005 N/A 2009 No[m 7]


  1. ^ a b c Oceania country or territory, but AFC member.
  2. ^ Former member of the Oceania Football Confederation (1966-1972, 1978-2006), joined AFC.
  3. ^ a b Oceania country or territory is a member of the Oceania National Olympic Committees rather than the Olympic Council of Asia.
  4. ^ Former member of the Oceania Football Confederation (1976-1982), joined AFC.
  5. ^ Macau's Olympic Committee is an OCA member, but not an IOC member.
  6. ^ Associate AFC member, not a FIFA member.
  7. ^ Part of the United States Olympic Committee.

Former members


AFC competitions


The AFC runs the AFC Asian Cup and AFC Women's Asian Cup, which determine the Champions of Asia, as well as the AFC Solidarity Cup. All three competitions are held every four years. The AFC also organises the AFC Futsal Championship, AFC Beach Soccer Championship, various age-level international youth football tournaments and the Asian qualifying tournament for the FIFA World Cup, FIFA Women's World Cup and for football at the Summer Olympics.

In addition to the AFC run international tournaments, each AFC regional federation organises its own tournament for national teams: EAFF East Asian Cup, SAFF Championship, AFF Championship, CAFA Championship and WAFF Championship .


The top-ranked AFC competition is the AFC Champions League, which started in the 2002-03 season (an amalgamation of the Asian Champions Cup and the Asian Cup Winners Cup) and gathers the top 1-4 teams of each country (the number of teams depend on that country's ranking and can be upgraded or downgraded); this competition only gathered teams from top country.

A second, lower-ranked competition is the AFC Cup. This competition was launched by AFC in 2004. A third competition, the AFC President's Cup, which had started in 2005, was absorbed into the AFC Cup in 2015.[40]

The AFC also runs an annual Asian futsal club competition, the AFC Futsal Club Championship.

Current title holders

Sponsors and supporters

The following are the sponsors of AFC (named "AFC Partners")[41]


Club Competitions Ranking

The AFC Club Competitions Ranking ranks its member associations by results in the AFC competitions. Rankings are calculated by the AFC.[45] Listed here are the top 30 countries.

AFC Country Points
1  China PR 100.000
2  Qatar 97.644
3  Japan 93.321
4  Saudi Arabia 88.449
5  South Korea 85.979
6  Iran 81.724
7  United Arab Emirates 61.870
8  Thailand 51.189
9  Iraq 48.992
10  Uzbekistan 45.562
11  Australia 40.896
12  Jordan 33.852
13  Philippines 32.130
14  North Korea 30.100
15  India 29.576
16  Vietnam 28.571
17  Tajikistan 28.361
18  Malaysia 26.96
19  Singapore 26.607
20  Turkmenistan 26.532
21  Lebanon 24.746
22  Syria 22.505
23  Hong Kong 19.945
24  Bahrain 17.749
25  Bangladesh 14.683
26  Maldives 13.632
27  Myanmar 12.756
28  Indonesia 12.550
29  Oman 8.531
30  Palestine 7.297


Rankings are calculated by the IFFHS.[46] Listed here are the top ten clubs.

Rank IFFHS Club Points
1 62 South Korea Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 153
2 68 Japan Kashima Antlers 149.5
3 77 Qatar Al-Duhail 142
4 95 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai 133.5
5 98 United Arab Emirates Al Ain 131
6 105 South Korea Suwon Samsung Bluewings 126
7 118 Iran Persepolis 116.5
8 127 Thailand Buriram United 114.5
9 130 Qatar Al Sadd 113.5
10 135 Saudi Arabia Al-Ahli 112.5

Men's futsal

Here is the men's futsal rank per 19 September 2020[47]

AFC FIFA Country Points +/-
1 6  Iran 1603 Steady
2 16  Japan 1368 Decrease 1
3 17  Thailand 1325 Increase 2
4 26  Uzbekistan 1221 Steady
5 31  Australia 1177 Increase 1
6 41  Lebanon 1103 Increase 1
7 42  Kyrgyzstan 1067 Increase 2
8 43  Kuwait 1066 Decrease 1
9 45  Vietnam 1046 Increase 1
10 50  Indonesia 1000 Decrease 3
11 55  Iraq 970 Increase 1
12 63  Tajikistan 918 Increase 7
13 67  Malaysia 881 Decrease 5
14 68  Jordan 877 Decrease 1
15 69  Turkmenistan 872 Decrease 1
16 72  South Korea 857 Steady
17 75  China 848 Decrease 2
18 83  Saudi Arabia 811 Decrease 9
19 84  Qatar 807 Decrease 5
20 86  Bahrain 802 Increase 2
21 87  Chinese Taipei 803 Decrease 6
22 87  Myanmar 793 Decrease 1
23 93  Oman 767 Decrease 2
23 92  United Arab Emirates 767 Decrease 2
25 96  Afghanistan 738 Decrease 2
26 104  Palestine 655 Decrease 3
27 105  Hong Kong 622 Decrease 3
28 106  Mongolia 609 Decrease 3
29 107  Cambodia 588 Decrease 3
30 108  East Timor 581 Decrease 3
31 111  Macau 535 Decrease 3
32 112  Brunei 528 Decrease 3
- -  Laos** 596 -
- -  Philippines** 540 -
- -  Syria** 651
- -  Singapore** 614
- -    Nepal* 588
- -  Yemen* 578
- -  Bhutan* 543
- -  Guam** 486
- -  Maldives** 457

a number between brackets is the rank of the previous week.

  • = Provisional ranking (played at least 10 matches)
    • = Inactive for more than 24 months

Beach soccer national teams

Rankings are calculated by Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSWW).[48]

AFC rank World rank Country Points
1 5  Iran 2309
2 7  Japan 2105
3 14  United Arab Emirates 1264
4 20  Oman 767
5 43  Lebanon 288
6 54  China 195
7 59  Palestine 177
8 63  Bahrain 152
9 67  Thailand 135
10 73  Afghanistan 105
11 75  Malaysia 95
12 80  Iraq 78
13 82  Qatar 76
14 86  Syria 75
15 92  Vietnam 51
16 93  Kuwait 46
16 93  Kyrgyzstan 46
18 95  Saudi Arabia 40
19 99  Uzbekistan 22
20 103  Laos 12
21 114  Australia 0
22 117  Yemen 0
23 118  Philippines 0
24 119  Indonesia 0

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