Asian Football Confederation
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is one of the six confederations within FIFA and is the governing body of association football in Asia and Australia. It has 47 member countries, most of which are located in Asia. Australia, formerly in the OFC, joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2006. Guam, a territory of the United States, and the Northern Mariana Islands, one of the two Commonwealths of the United States are also AFC members that are geographically in Oceania. Hong Kong and Macau, although not independent countries (both are Special Administrative Regions of China), are also members of the AFC.
|Formation||7 May 1954|
|Founded at||Manila, Philippines|
|Headquarters||Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
|47 member associations|
|Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa|
|AFC, CAF, CONCACAF|
|CONMEBOL, OFC, UEFA|
The Asian Football Confederation was founded on 7 May 1954 in Manila, Philippines. Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Republic of China (Chinese Taipei), Hong Kong, Iran, India, Israel, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore and South Vietnam were founding members.
The Asian Ladies Football Confederation (ALFC) is the section of the AFC who manage women's football in Asia. The group was independently founded in April 1968 in a meeting involving Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. In 1986 the ALFC merged with the AFC. The Asian Ladies Football Confederation helped organize the AFC Women's Asian Cup, first held in 1975, as well as the AFC's AFC U-20 Women's Asian Cup and the AFC U-17 Women's Asian Cup.
The AFC has been accused of its political nepotism and corruption within the federation.
Hakeem al-Araibi, Bahraini footballer turned political refugee in Australia, was arrested by Thai police on his honeymoon to Thailand in November 2018. He faced extradition charges from the Bahraini government on the false accusation over his involvement in the Bahraini uprising of 2011 that he instigated the attack on a police station. As Thailand did not sign the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Thai economic interests with Bahrain, and the ruling president of the AFC, Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, is a member of Bahraini Royal family, fear that the AFC might set up as culprit for the deportation, triggered international outcry. Australia and FIFA eventually intervened and Thai officials would release Hakeem in February 2019, but this highlighted rampant political corruption in the AFC.
The AFC Asian Cup is also marked with numerous instances of political interference. One of these was the case of Israel, as the team used to be a member of the AFC but following the Arab loss in the Yom Kippur War, Israel was expelled from the AFC in 1974 and had to compete in OFC until being granted UEFA membership in 1990. Meanwhile, similar cases also exist in other AFC tournaments like the one between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Following the 2016 attack on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran, Saudi Arabia has rejected playing with Iran and even threatens to withdraw if the AFC refuses to follow, and even extended it to international level. Tensions between the two Koreas during the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification had led North Korea to withdraw from hosting the South Korean team and refusing to display the South Korean flag and play their national anthem. As a result, North Korea's home matches were moved to Shanghai.
In the 2019 AFC Asian Cup held in the United Arab Emirates, Qatari fans were barred from entering the country as part of the ongoing Qatar diplomatic crisis, despite the earlier slogan "Bringing Asia Together", although the Emirati government later announced that it would permit Qatari citizens temporary entry into the country pending approval from Emirati authorities. According to a report, Saoud al-Mohannadi, a Qatari national who is the AFC vice-president and chairman of the organizing committee for the Asian Cup, was unable to enter the UAE two days prior to the tournament's start because Emirati authorities had not yet cleared him. The director of the 2019 AFC Organizing Committee denied reports that Al Mohannadi was refused entry and declared that Al Mohannadi has arrived on Friday morning and was preparing for his meetings. The director stated that there was no evidence that shows he was unable to enter and stated that this news has "political purposes". He stated, "We try to keep sports away from politics." Since then, the Qatari team faced imminent discrimination from the host nation, and even in the semi-finals when Qatar faced up host nation, UAE supporters threw bottles and footwear into the match after Qatari players scored their second goal, the latter is considered deeply offensive in the Middle East. One of the Qatari players, Salem Al Hajri, was struck on the head with a shoe after Qatar scored its third goal. This conduct was preceded by booing the Qatari national anthem. The two countries had had a hostile relationship and had cut ties due to the ongoing diplomatic crisis. Qatar won 4–0 despite the situation, reaching their first Asian Cup final and would go on to win the tournament for the first time. Afterwards, the AFC declared that it would conduct an investigation into the proceedings, eventually punished the UAEFA over the incident, fined $150,000 US dollars for the incident and had to play their first 2022 and 2023 qualification game in closed doors. However, on 21 September, AFC had mysteriously lifted the ban just a few weeks before the match has begun.
During the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, North Korea reluctantly agreed to host the South Korean team in Pyongyang, the first time North Korea hosted South Korea at home in a competitive match. Enthusiasm thus ran high due to aspiration of reconciliation between two Koreas, only to be later shattered by the North Korean Government banning supporters from entering the stadium, and aggressive performance by the Northern players to the Southern counterparts. The match ended a goalless draw, but as for the result of controversies, South Korea decided to pull out the bid for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, and accused North Korea of political meddling in sports. The AFC was accused of doing little about the case, which led to the AFC to decide the final of the 2019 AFC Cup would not be hosted in North Korea.
In 2020 AFC Champions League, the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran received a letter from the AFC on 17 January 2020 announcing that teams from Iran would not be allowed to host their home matches in their country due to security concerns. The four AFC Champions League teams from Iran announced on 18 January 2020 that they would withdraw from the tournament if the ban was not reversed. The AFC announced on 23 January 2020 that any group stage matches which the Iranian teams were supposed to host on matchdays 1, 2 and 3 would be switched with the corresponding away matches to allow time to reassess the security concerns in the country.
On 9 March 2020, FIFA announced in a statement that matches between Asian qualifiers for World Cup 2022, which were scheduled for March and June, are postponed to a later time. The decision has been made due to the spread of SARS-CoV-2. On August 12, 2020, FIFA and the AFC have jointly decided that the upcoming qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023, originally scheduled to take place during the international match windows in October and November 2020, will be rescheduled to 2021.
AFC Executive Committee
- Abed-Alkhaliq Masoud Ahmed
- Hachem Haider
- Salem Said Salem Al Wahaibi
- Hamid Mohammed Ali Al-Shaibani
- Dasho Ugen Tsechup Dorji
- Chris Nikou
- Hamidin Mohd Amin
- Tran Quoc Tuan
- Fok Kai Shan Eric
- Susan Shalabi Molano
- Kanya Keomany
- Han Un-gyong
- General Secretary
|West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) (12)|
|UAE||United Arab Emirates||(M, W)||1971||1974||1974||Yes|
|Central Asian Football Association (CAFA) (6)|
|South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) (7)|
|SRI||Sri Lanka||(M, W)||1939||1952||1954||Yes|
|ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) (12)|
|East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) (10)|
|CHN||China PR||(M, W)||1924||1931||1974||Yes|
|TPE||Chinese Taipei||(M, W)||1936||1954||1954||Yes|
|HKG||Hong Kong||(M, W)||1914||1954||1954||Yes|
|PRK||North Korea||(M, W)||1945||1958||1974||Yes|
|KOR||South Korea||(M, W)||1928||1948||1954||Yes|
|NMI||Northern Mariana Islands||(M, W)||2005||N/A||2020||No|
- Former member of the Oceania Football Confederation (1966–1972, 1978–2006), joined AFC.
- Oceania country or territory is a member of the Oceania National Olympic Committees rather than the Olympic Council of Asia.
- Former member of the Oceania Football Confederation (1976–1982), joined AFC.
- Macau's Olympic Committee is an OCA member, but not an IOC member.
- Part of the United States Olympic Committee.
- Israel, 1954–1974. Expelled from AFC competitions in 1974, as a result of a proposal by Kuwait which was adopted by a vote of 17 to 13 with 6 abstentions. Became full UEFA members in 1994.
- New Zealand, 1964. Founding member of OFC in 1966.
- South Yemen, 1972–1990. Joined North Yemen as Yemen
- Kazakhstan, 1993–2002. Joined UEFA in 2002.
- AFC Asian Cup
- 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC)
- AFC Solidarity Cup
- Asian Games Men's football tournament
- AFC U-23 Asian Cup
- AFC U-20 Asian Cup
- AFC U-17 Asian Cup
- AFC Futsal Asian Cup
- AFC U-20 Futsal Asian Cup
- AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup
- AFC Women's Asian Cup
- AFC Women's Asian Cup qualification
- Asian Games women's football tournament
- AFC Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament
- AFC U-20 Women's Asian Cup
- AFC U-17 Women's Asian Cup
- AFC Women's Futsal Asian Cup
- AFC Champions League
- AFC Cup
- AFC Futsal Club Championship
- AFC Women's Club Championship
- AFC Challenge Cup
- Afro-Asian Cup of Nations
- AFC–OFC Challenge Cup
- Asian Cup Winners' Cup
- Asian Super Cup
- AFC President's Cup
- Afro-Asian Club Championship
The AFC runs the AFC Asian Cup and AFC Women's Asian Cup, which determine the Champions of Asia, as well as the AFC Solidarity Cup. All three competitions are held every four years. The AFC also organises the AFC Futsal Asian Cup, AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup, various age-level international youth football tournaments and the Asian qualifying tournament for the FIFA World Cup, FIFA Women's World Cup and for football at the Summer Olympics.
In addition to the AFC run international tournaments, each AFC regional federation organises its own tournament for national teams: AFF Championship, CAFA Championship, EAFF Championship, SAFF Championship and WAFF Championship.
The top-ranked AFC competition is the AFC Champions League, which started in the 2002–03 season (an amalgamation of the Asian Club Championship and the Asian Cup Winners' Cup) and gathers the top 1–4 teams of each country (the number of teams depend on that country's ranking and can be upgraded or downgraded); this competition only gathered teams from top country. And AFC Women's Club Championship for women football club competition.
A second, lower-ranked competition is the AFC Cup. This competition was launched by AFC in 2004. A third competition, the AFC President's Cup, which had started in 2005, was absorbed into the AFC Cup in 2015.
The AFC also runs an annual Asian futsal club competition, the AFC Futsal Club Championship.
Current title holders
|Competition||Year||Champions||Title||Runners-up||Next edition||Most successful|
|National teams (Men's)|
|Asian Cup||2019||Qatar||1st||Japan||2023|| Japan |
|Solidarity Cup||2016||Nepal||1st||Macau||2024|| Nepal |
|Asian Games Men's tournament||2018||South Korea||5th||Japan||2022|| South Korea |
|U-23 Asian Cup||2020||South Korea||1st||Saudi Arabia||2022|| Iraq |
|U-20 Asian Cup||2018||Saudi Arabia||3rd||South Korea||2023|| South Korea |
|U-17 Asian Cup||2018||Japan||3rd||Tajikistan||2023|| Japan |
|Futsal Asian Cup||2018||Iran||12th||Japan||2022|| Iran |
|Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games Futsal||2017||Iran||5th||Uzbekistan||2021|| Iran |
|U-20 Futsal Asian Cup||2019||Japan||1st||Afghanistan||2021|| Iran |
|Beach Soccer Asian Cup||2019||Japan||3rd||United Arab Emirates||2023|| Japan |
|Beach Games Beach Soccer||2016||Japan||1st||Oman||2021|| Iran |
|National teams (Women's)|
|Women's Asian Cup||2018||Japan||2nd||Australia||2022|| China PR |
|Asian Games Women's tournament||2018||Japan||2nd||China PR||2022|| China PR |
|Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament||2020|| Australia
|U-20 Women's Asian Cup||2019||Japan||6th||North Korea||2022|| Japan |
|U-17 Women's Asian Cup||2019||Japan||4th||North Korea||2022|| Japan |
|Women's Futsal Asian Cup||2018||Iran||2nd||Japan||2021 TBC|| Iran |
|Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games Futsal||2017||Thailand||1st||Japan||2021|| Japan |
|Club teams (Men's)|
|Champions League||2020||Ulsan Hyundai||2nd||Persepolis||2021|| Al-Hilal |
|AFC Cup||2019||Al-Ahed||1st||25 April||2021|| Al-Kuwait |
|Futsal Club Championship||2019||Nagoya Oceans||4th||Mes Sungun||2022|| Nagoya Oceans |
|Club teams (Women's)|
|Women's Club Championship||2019||Nippon TV Beleza||1st||Jiangsu Suning||2021|| Nippon TV Beleza |
Titles by nation
|Nation||Men||Women||Futsal & Beach Soccer||Total|
|Asian||Solidarity||Challenge||U23||U20||U17||Afro-Asian||AFC-OFC||Asian||U20||U17||Men's||Men's U20||Women's||Beach Soccer|
|United Arab Emirates||1||1|
|Competition||Year||Champions||Title||Runners-up||Next edition||Most successful|
|Afro-Asian Cup of Nations||2007||Japan||2nd||Egypt||Defunct|| Japan |
|AFC-OFC Challenge Cup||2003||Iran||1st||New Zealand||Defunct|| Iran |
|Challenge Cup||2014||Palestine||1st||Philippines||Defunct|| North Korea |
|Afro-Asian Club Championship||1998||Raja Casablanca||1st||Pohang Steelers||Defunct|| Zamalek |
|Asian Cup Winners' Cup||2001-02||Al-Hilal||2nd||Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors||Defunct|| Al-Hilal |
|President's Cup||2014||HTTU Asgabat||1st||Rimyongsu||Defunct|| Regar TadAZ |
|Asian Super Cup||2002||Suwon Samsung Bluewings||2nd||Al-Hilal||Defunct|| Al-Hilal |
Suwon Samsung Bluewings
Sponsors and supporters
Hall of Fame
Major tournament records
- 1st – Champion
- 2nd – Runner-up
- 3rd – Third place
- 4th – Fourth place
- QF – Quarterfinals
- R16 – Round of 16 (since 1986: knockout round of 16)
- GS – Group stage (in the 1950, 1974, 1978, and 1982 tournaments, which had two group stages, this refers to the first group stage)
- 1S – First knockout stage (1934–1938 Single-elimination tournament)
- — Did not qualify
- — Did not enter / withdrawn / banned / disqualified
- — Hosts
For each tournament, the flag of the host country and the number of teams in each finals tournament (in brackets) are shown.
FIFA World Cup
|FIFA World Cup record|
|South Korea||Did not exist||×||GS||×||•||×||•||•||•||•||GS||GS||GS||GS||4th||GS||R16||GS||GS||10|
|Saudi Arabia||Did not exist||×||×||×||×||×||•||•||•||•||R16||GS||GS||GS||•||•||GS||5|
|Australia||Part of OFC||GS||GS||GS||3|
|North Korea||Did not exist||×||×||×||×||QF||×||•||×||•||•||•||•||×||×||•||GS||•||•||2|
|Iraq||Did not exist||×||×||×||×||×||×||•||×||•||GS||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||1|
|Israel||Did not exist||•||•||•||•||•||GS||•||Not a member of AFC||1|
|Kuwait||Did not exist||×||×||×||×||×||×||•||•||GS||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||1|
|Qatar||Did not exist||×||×||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||q||1|
|United Arab Emirates||Did not exist||×||×||•||GS||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||1|
|Total (13 teams)||0||0||1||0||1||0||0||1||1||0||1||1||2||2||2||4||4||4||4||4||5||4 or 5|
FIFA Women's World Cup
|FIFA Women's World Cup record|
|Australia||Part of OFC||QF||QF||QF||R16||q||5|
|Total (7 teams)||3||2||3||4||4||3||5||5||5+1||29|
FIFA Futsal World Cup
- 1st – Champions
- 2nd – Runners-up
- 3rd – Third place
- 4th – Fourth place
- QF – Quarterfinals
- R2 – Round 2 (1989–2008, second group stage, top 8; 2012–present: knockout round of 16)
- R1 – Round 1
- – Hosts
- – Not an AFC member
- Q – Qualified for upcoming tournament
AFC Asian Cup
|AFC Asian Cup record|
(Total 35 teams)
|United Arab Emirates||GS||GS||GS||4th||2nd||GS||GS||GS||3rd||SF||10|
|Australia||Part of OFC||QF||2nd||1st||QF||4|
|Israel||2nd||2nd||1st||3rd||Part of UEFA||4|
AFC Women's Asian Cup
|AFC Women's Asian Cup record|
(Total 21 teams)
|Kazakhstan||GS||GS||GS||Part of UEFA||3|
Men's national teams
Rankings are calculated by FIFA.
Top ranked men's national teams
Women's national teams
Rankings are calculated by FIFA.
Top ranked women's national teams
Men's elo rankings
|AFC||Elo Rankings||Country||Elo ratings||1 year change|
|14||94||United Arab Emirates||1,449||12|
|47||238||Northern Mariana Islands||409|
Club Competitions Ranking
|7||United Arab Emirates||61.870|
|1||62||Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors||153|
|6||105||Suwon Samsung Bluewings||126|
|23||91||United Arab Emirates||767||2|
a number between brackets is the rank of the previous week.
- = Provisional ranking (played at least 10 matches)
- = Inactive for more than 24 months
Beach soccer national teams
|AFC rank||World rank||Country||Points|
|3||14||United Arab Emirates||945|
- AFC Annual Awards
- List of Presidents of AFC
- Asian Football Hall of Fame
- AFC Club Competitions Ranking
- AFC sub-confederations
- ASEAN Football Federation (AFF)
- Central Asian Football Association (CAFA)
- East Asian Football Federation (EAFF)
- South Asian Football Federation (SAFF)
- West Asian Football Federation (WAFF)
- Continent confederations
- Confederation of African Football (CAF)
- Oceanian Football Confederation (OFC)
- Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)
- Timeline of Football
- List of association football sub-confederations
- List of association football competitions
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The Asian Games (sic) Football Confederation was formed in Manila yesterday.
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- (in English) 29th AFC Congress concludes in Kuala Lumpur
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- Indonesia competed as the Dutch East Indies in 1938.
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- Official website (in English and Arabic)