ASL plan set to go into overdrive

ASL plan set to go into overdrive
BOOST FOR SPORT: The 55,000 seater National Stadium (above) will stage major football matches among other events.

SINGAPORE - The competition is backed by nations in the region, whose fans and corporations are waiting to see just how the ASEAN Super League (ASL) will change the football landscape.

Mooted as a stand-alone league featuring at least one team from each nation in South-east Asia, the ASL could well shake up football in a region that is struggling to haul itself out of a trough.

An ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) meeting is scheduled for tomorrow in Myanmar, and key points on the agenda and decisions made there could affect the ASL in a big way.

In a recent interview with The New Paper, World Sport Group CEO Andrew Georgiou said: "At the next AFF meeting, a lot of it will be about incorporating a company, finding a CEO (chief executive officer), electing a board and putting everything (about the ASL) together... and for us the important thing is to put together franchise deals and find owners.

"The ambition is to start in 2015, and the current hypothesis is to run from January to August. The AFF is putting this together with our support as commercial advisers, and we are working through the model that we will adopt."

Georgiou revealed that 10 countries "have signed a memorandum of understanding," with the exception of Thailand, who are widely believed to also want to get involved.

"The ASL is about harnessing the commercial strength of the region to improve the quality of football (of all countries here), that's the starting point of the conversation," added Georgiou.

"A rising tide lifts all boats."

It is an ideal that is backed by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Sheikh Salman Ebrahim Al Khalifa.

The AFC official website recently reported that Sheikh Salman, who was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with Indonesian football chiefs last month, "supported the idea of launching the ASL, saying this should be started under the umbrella of AFC and it will provide a boost to the development of club football in the region."

No ASEAN nation made it through to the final round of the recently concluded World Cup qualifying campaign, and the region will also not be represented in the 2015 Asian Cup Finals in Australia.

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