Pune FC will be India’s representative in the 2014 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League. The I-League side will enter the tournament at the playoff stage, becoming the first Indian club to do so after two years.
Pune has earned the right to feature in this competition on the virtue of being the sole club in the country to hold the AFC Club License. Dempo SC was the last Indian club to feature in the playoff stages of the Champions League, eventually defeated by Qatar’s Al Sadd. India has also been awarded two spots in the AFC Cup. The second-tier continental competition will see the participation of Churchill Brothers and Pune or East Bengal. The Kolkata side will compete in the AFC Cup, if Pune progresses to the Champions League group stage.
Churchill and East Bengal are eligible to participate in this tournament on the basis of their I-League positions last season. While the former won the league title, the latter finished third. Both clubs participated in this year’s AFC Cup as well. Though Churchill failed to progress past the group stage, East Bengal reached the semifinals. Eventual champion Al-Kuwait accounted for the latter in the last four. — Sports Reporter