AFC warns members: Go professional or demotion

Asian Football Confederation President Mohammed Bin Hammam has threatened to demote football clubs from the Arabian Gulf states from the AFC Champions League next season, Al-Riyadh newspaper reported. Bin Hammam said he was unhappy local football federations have not adopted the professional system. He stated that in 2009, only the Asian federations who run the game in a professional manner will be allowed to admit clubs into the Champions League competition. “The AFC has already set the terms and regulations for the Champions League. The most important element is that we have professional clubs under the umbrella of professional federations that abide by the rules of FIFA. We are not going to compromise regarding that matter,” he insisted.

Bin Hammam said teams that do not meet the requirements set by the AFC will be demoted to the continent’s second best competition, the AFC Cup. "These clubs will be labeled as amateurs and will play in the AFC Cup,” he said. "It’s about time everyone knows that in football, there is amateurism and professionalism, and it’s up to the local federations to decide which route they want to take.”