AFC plans very concerted effort to improve leagues

The Asian Football Confederation has again called on its member associations to raise the standard of their national competitions if the continent is to avoid a repeat of its poor performance at this year's FIFA World Cup. Earlier this week, AFC president Mohamed bin Hammam said in a statement that "everyone was expecting our teams to do much better than they did. It is my belief that this defeat is because of poor competition structures, particularly club competitions, both at national and confederation level.

An AFC official subsequently told Associated Press that there would be a "very concerted effort" to help restructure and relaunch leagues, improve match formats and boost technical and administrative professionalism over the next four years. "We are looking at a strategic level ... which will help us become confident that we will see the level of football improve," the official said on condition of anonymity because she was not allowed to make public statements on behalf of the organisation.

See also: Asia must build stronger leagues to raise standard (26 June)