The AFF Suzuki Cup has been moved to next year, but what other information do we know about the upcoming competition?
Goal brings you everything that is known about the next edition of the AFF Championship, as well as the format of the competition.
- When is the AFF Suzuki Cup draw?
- Where will the AFF Suzuki Cup draw take place and how can I watch it?
- Which teams will play at the AFF Suzuki Cup?
- When and where will the AFF Suzuki Cup take place ?
- Who won the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2018?
- Who has won the most AFF Suzuki Cup titles?
- What are the rule changes?
The draw was initially due to take place in August 2020, but will be moved to a new date following the decision to move the tournament to late 2021. No update has been given regarding the draw of the tournament as of yet.
The AFF has not announced the venue and time of the draw.
Nine teams will automatically qualify for the finals, while the tenth spot will go to the qualification play-off winner between the two lowest ranked AFF teams; Brunei and East Timor.
Australia, which is also an AFF nation, at least nominally, is expected to be absent again from the competition, although there has been renewed interest in taking part in the competition due to the success of the 2018 edition’s format change.
- Vietnam (defending champions)
- Malaysia (2018 runners up)
- Philippines (2018 semi-finalist)
- Thailand (2018 semi-finalist)
- Timor-Leste or Brunei
Timor-Leste vs Philippines in the 2018 edition. Photo from AFF/Lagardere
The tournament was initially due to take place between November 31 and December 31 2020. However, the ongoing Covid-19 situation has prompted the AFF to move the tournament to 2021, from April 11 to May 8.
The 2018 edition did away with the host-nation format, with teams playing group-stage matches at home and away alternately, and the semi-final and final stages also held home and away. The change was successful, resulting in improved attendance as well as better gate collection.
Vietnam had expressed their eagerness to host this year’s tournament from start to finish as the country with a population of nearly 100 million was a Covid-19 success story early on, recording only 370 cases and no deaths. However, the AFF seemed keen to stick to the new format, although the Covid-19 situation could lead to the governing body reconsidering its stance.
My Dinh Stadium, Hanoi. Photo from Getty
The most recent edition was won by Vietnam under their talismanic South Korean head coach Park Hang-seo, for their second AFF Suzuki Cup title. The two legged-final was first played in Kuala Lumpur, with the visitors racing to a 2-0 lead before the hosts clawed their way back into the game to tie it 2-2. The second leg in Hanoi was an anti-climactic affair, a sixth-minute goal by Nguyễn Anh Đức sealing the win for Vietnam.
Only four countries have won the championship since it was first contested in 1996; Thailand are the most successful side with five wins, while Malaysia have won it once. Singapore have won it four times, emerging the winner everytime they were in the final match. Indonesia meanwhile are the perennial bridesmaids, having reached the final five times without ever winning it.
|Thailand||5 (1996, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016)||3 (2007, 2008, 2012)|
|Singapore||4 (1998, 2004/05, 2007, 2012)||–|
|Vietnam||2 (2008, 2018)||1 (1998)|
|Malaysia||1 (2010)||3 (1996, 2014, 2018)|
|Indonesia||–||5 (2000, 2002, 2004/05, 2010, 2016)|
Thailand winning the 2014 edition. Photo by Thana Wongmanee / Goal Thailand
In June, the AFF council announced the approval of several rule changes to the competition in preparation for the 2020 edition, in line with the post-Covid 19 changes approved by FIFA earlier this year. Teams would have been allowed to list 70 players on their provisional squad, as compared to 50 previously. The competition squad had also been increased to 30 from 23, while the matchday squad would have included up to 23 players, three more players than before.
But with the postponement of the 2020 competition, it is unknown whether the rule changes will still be applicable when the tournament is eventually held next year.
Keep updated on the latest 2021 AFF Suzuki Cup news on Goal!