Proposed Super League Could Put Stop To Region's Financial Drain
As Southeast Asian money floods into English football while local leagues are left to rot, "the proposed ASEAN Super League might just offer those investors a viable alternative and put a stop to the financial drain from the region," according to Patrick Johnston of REUTERS. The ASEAN Football Federation said Tuesday that its new tournament "will start in February 2015 and feature eight franchises initially with no promotion or relegation." The plan is to "eventually increase that number to 16 teams with all 11 members of the federation taking part" in a product the body hopes will enable the region to realize its true potential. The AFF said that "discussions were ongoing," but it was keen to reassure that the new league would "not kill off domestic competitions in the region, many of which are already struggling with investment lacking." Simply mimicking the Premier League model at home "has struggled to bear fruit for the majority of the member associations in ASEAN leading to the AFF's bold, ambitious and brave plans to join forces." Sports rights expert James Scholefield said, "The challenge for the organizers and backers of the league is to develop a product that resonates in this market. The fans need to have a genuine affiliation and loyalty that takes them off their sofas and into stadia to watch games." The success of the biennial AFF Suzuki Cup for int'l teams in the region "suggests it could work, with 90,000 routinely attending matches and television rights proving a hot commodity" (REUTERS, 4/17).