In a rather interesting turn of events, Bengaluru FC have been awarded the AFC Cup playoff spot, instead of Chennaiyin FC.
BFC finished third in the ISL league stage, and were out of Asian contention after losing to Maziya FC in the AFC Cup playoffs 2019-20. It was expected that Chennaiyin FC, runner-ups, would be getting an opportunity to play in the AFC Cup if ATK chose to play from Mohun Bagan’s group stage spot. However, AIFF had different plans. Here’s what the press release says:
“NEW DELHI: The following Indian clubs will participate in the AFC Club competitions in 2021.
FC Goa as the winner of the Hero ISL league phase for season 2019-20 as direct entrant in the group stage of AFC Champions League.
ATK Mohun Bagan (after their agreement to form a joint venture) as a direct entrant in the group stage of AFC Cup on virtue of being winners of the Hero I-League 2019-20.
The AFC Cup play-off slot goes to Bengaluru FC who finished third in the Hero ISL league phase in 2019-20. ATK, who finished runners-up in the league phase of the Hero ISL 2019-20, as per their joint venture with Mohun Bagan, qualify automatically for the direct slot for the AFC Cup.“