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News | K League's ACLE and ACL2 allocations still not decided: Reports

Pohang Steelers have won the FA Cup but whether this means a place in the AFC Champions League Elite remains unknown. The Korean Football Association and the K League have reportedly not decided how AFC Champions League places will be allocated.

Despite there being three games to go until the end of the 2023 Hana 1Q K League 1 season, which places in the table earn an ACLE or ACL2 place is still up in the air. It was assumed that Pohang's FA Cup win would see them qualify for AFC Champions League Elite, but this is not yet set in stone. 

The AFC Champions League has been expanded but the AFC has given the KFA and K League the authority to allocate which teams qualify for which competition. The AFC Champions League Elite and AFC Champions League 2.

One particular area of contention in allowing the FA Cup winners to qualify for the ACLE is the number of games they need to win in order to lift the trophy which is five for teams already in ACL. Pohang won four this year as the semifinals and final were played over one leg.

An official from the Korean Football Association told Sports Kyunghyang: "It is true that further discussion is still needed on this part (ACLE qualification)," but explained, "Even if there is a change in this policy, there is a consensus that Pohang, which has already confirmed its FA Cup title in the 2024-2025 season, should participate."

Adding to the confusion, another KFA official told Yonhap News on Saturday that: "The basic policy of the Korea Football Association is that the FA Cup winning team should qualify to play in the top club competition. Even if there is a change in this policy, it is in the realm of common sense that Pohang, which has already confirmed its FA Cup victory in the 2024-2025 season, should participate."

Pohang boss Kim Gi-dong had his say, too: "Isn't the FA Cup the most prestigious competition for both amateur and professional teams? At this point, not only should they allocate a place (in ACLE) but they should improve the competition's prestige by increasing the prize money."

What this means is that, with three games to play in the league, no one really knows what they need to do to qualify for the ACL next year. 

For Pohang, it was a first trophy in 10 years and their first since the FA Cup win over Jeonbuk. It also marks a trophy win in the club's 50th anniversary year.

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