Teams playing in the AFC Champions League will soon be allowed to field more foreign players under a series of sweeping changes approved by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). From the 2023-24 season, coaches will be allowed to field up to six foreign players in their starting line-ups for the first time, an increase of two from the current quota, and at least one of those players must be from another Asian nation. The newly approved foreign player quota was widely supported by member associations, and follows the recent removal of the 3+1 ceiling on the number of foreign players allowed in the preliminary season – which was also increased from 30 to 35 for the club competitions’ seasons this year. The AFC also confirmed competition would transition to an autumn-spring calendar for the first time since the AFC Champions League’s inaugural season in 2002-03. The competition has been played from March to November since 2004, although Covid-19 has resulted in amendments to that schedule for the past two years. AFC hopes the decision will allow Asia’s top clubs to benefit from more synchronised transfer windows, improved opportunities to sign quality players and coaches from around the world. “The latest decisions represent some of the most groundbreaking enhancements to be introduced in Asian club football history,” AFC said in a statement. For the U17, U20, and U23 Asian Cup tournaments, AFC will remove the current West-East zoning principles, a move that should simplify its competition arrangements. The East-West rules however, will still apply to the Champions League. Additionally AFC’s executive committee is looking to amend the rule on automatic suspensions and retain its social responsibility charter that sees 5 per cent of prize money from the champions league donated to AFC Dream Asia Foundation. Preliminary rounds in the 2022 edition are set to begin next month, with the latter stages of the competition to be played in February 2023 as a result of scheduling issues created by Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup in November and December this year.