East Bengal only Indian side in top 100 of AFC's new club rankings
Kuala Lumpur: City giants East Bengal are the only Indian team to feature in the top100 of the new club rankings announced by the Asian Football Confederation Thursday.
East Bengal are ranked 79th, while four other Indian outfits have found a place lower down in the list which comprises the top 147 clubs of the continent.
Churchill Brothers (103), Dempo (113), Pune FC (123) and Salgaocar Sports Club (134) completes the Indian entries in the new rankings.
The AFC Club Ranking, which will be updated throughout the season, is based on the results of teams participating in the last four years of the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup, as well as their respective Member Associations' overall club performances in those competitions during the same period.
The initial list sees Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal, beaten AFC Champions League finalists in 2014, currently ranked first having amassed 106 points. South Korean outfit FC Seoul, who were beaten to the AFC Champions League title by Guangzhou Evergrande in 2013, are second, while Saudi powerhouse Al Ittihad occupy third.
Kuwait's Qadsia SC, who lifted this season's AFC Cup crown, sit in 23rd position, with 2014 AFC Champions League winners Western Sydney Wanderers a mere four places behind in 25th despite this year being their inaugural continental campaign.
AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has hailed the historic development, adding that the transparent initiative will help generate even more interest in the confederation's already popular club competitions.
"This is the first time that we are introducing this system in the history of the AFC and we are hopeful that the AFC Club Ranking will ensure a higher level of sporting competition among the clubs in Asia, and further enhance the standards of our continental competitions," Shaikh Salman said.
"The success of our club competitions has been truly exemplary, but we are not resting on our laurels as we are constantly looking to further boost their appeal.
"We believe this transparent ranking system, which is based on clubs' technical performance, will not only develop the sporting aspect but it will also improve the commercial aspect by increasing the interest, form fans and media alike, in the clubs throughout our continent," he said.