AFC plans changes to 2009 Champions League

An overhaul of the AFC Champions League has been recommended by the Asian Football Confederation's Professional Leagues Committee. Among the suggestions put forward for 2009 was the implementation of an additional round in the knockout phase, introducing a Round of 16 phase to the competition. Currently, 28 teams from 15 nations are divided into seven groups of four with only the winners of each group progressing to the quarter-finals, where they are joined by the defending champions, who qualify automatically. The new format would likely see two teams advance to the knockout phase, reducing the likelihood of failure for some of the continent's stronger clubs. Other recommendations included playing the final as a one-off match in a neutral venue. Under the current format, the final is played on a home-and-away basis.