East Asians might invite Australians into A3 Cup

Japanese and Korean football associations are pushing to include Australian A-League clubs in the prestigious East Asian Club Championship, also called the A3 Champions Cup, according to sources in Japan quoted by FourFourTwo magazine. The tournament is an annual round-robin tournament for the big three East Asian countries, Japan, Korea and China, and their champion club sides. "Given the A-League season kicks off in late August, it would be an ideal way for an Australian club to tune up against quality opposition in the off-season. What’s more, there's a nice earner for the winner as well as sponsorship potential.

In 2005, South Korea’s Suwon earned US$400,000 for winning the tournament," the magazine advised. The 2007 edition will be held in China’s Jinan city from June 7-13. Shandong Luneng and Shanghai Shenhua will battle with Japan’s Urawa Reds and South Korean power Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma.