The 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup is bound to be a memorable one as it receives its first ever FIFA ranking points. The tournament also receives recognition by FIFA as a ‘category A’ tournament.
Prior to this, the AFF Suzuki Cup was only recognised and given ranking points at the ASEAN level, and was considered a ‘friendly competition’ by FIFA. This new recognition thrusts the Southeast Asian tournament to a global level.
AFF General Secretary Datuk Seri Azzuddin Ahmad told ESPN FC that, “We recently got declaration from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) that the AFF Cup now offers international ranking points.”
“We had got our 11 member associations to make an appeal to the AFC. Through their backing and support, the AFF Cup has now risen in prestige.”
Apart from the ranking, the AFF championship has also been garnering more and more viewers over the years. The Indonesia v Malaysia finals in 2010 recorded a whopping total of 192 million TV viewers, 15 million of them from Indonesia.
The AFF championship will also be abolishing qualifiers, and matches within the groups will follow the home and away system.