AIFF Press Release:
(This content is part of a press release from the AIFF and has not been altered in any way)
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.
In reference to the AFC Cup Playoff position which was meant to go to the ISL Champions (Playoff winners):
Since ATK (ISL Playoff Champions) already qualified for the AFC Cup in lieu of their merger with Mohun Bagan who won the I-League, AFC officials decided to give prominence to the league position in the ISL rather than the Cup/Playoff Runners Up which is why BFC got the AFC Cup Playoff spot.
Chennaiyin FC who by virtue of finishing runners up to ATK in the ISL 2019-20 play-off finals did not make it as was widely anticipated and initially indicated by the AIFF general secretary Kushal Das.