AFF Suzuki Cup ready to return

AFF Suzuki Cup ready to return

Following its blockbuster success in 2010, the ASEAN region’s biggest football extravaganza – the AFF Suzuki Cup – is set to return for its ninth edition later this year.

Malaysia won the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup

Since its inception in 1996, the biennial tournament has been a huge hit with ASEAN football fans, showcasing Southeast Asia’s best players in front of packed stadiums teeming with passionate supporters, and with millions more from throughout the region following the action on live television.

But for all of the success that the competition may have enjoyed in the past, the popularity of the 2010 event made for some truly eye-catching numbers:

- Played over 12 nights, the event drew a total attendance of 765,320 at the stadiums;

- It reached a broadcast audience of over 192 million viewers;

- The Official Website had nearly 2 million visitors and nearly 10 million page views;

- The Official Facebook page had 193,172 fans and over 13.5 million total views;

- And the 35 videos on the official YouTube site had 1,758,010 total views.

Having lifted the title for the first time in 2010, Malaysia will begin the defence of their crown when they co-host the Group Stage with Thailand from November 24 onwards.

Along with the two co-hosts, three-time winners Singapore, 2008 champions Vietnam, 2010 runners-up Indonesia and the surprise package of the last tournament, Philippines, will proceed directly to the group stage, where they will be joined by two teams from the Qualifying Tournament.

That Qualifying Tournament will take place from October 5-13 at the Youth Training Centre in Yangon and will feature a single round-robin group comprising of Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Timor Leste and hosts Myanmar.

The draw for the Qualifiers and the Group Stage will take place on Wednesday, July 11 in the Chaturathit Ballrom at the Golden Tulip Sovereign Hotel, Bangkok. Details of the seedings for the draw will be made available in due course on this website and on the tournament’s Facebook page. Media registration will commence at 1.00pm.

The majority of the Group Stage matches will be played at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok and the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur with the Supachalasai Stadium and Shah Alam Stadium slated as secondary venues for the final round of group games on November 30 and December 1.

The top two teams in each group will progress to the semi-finals which will take place over two legs on a home-and-away basis from December 8 to 13. The winners of those matches will contest the final with the first leg on December 19 and the return match on December 22.

There is a huge prize purse at stake with the winners taking home a cheque for US$200,000 and the runners-up receiving US$75,000.

But the greatest prize for all the competing teams will be the honour of lifting the AFF Suzuki Cup and being acknowledged as the best football side in the ASEAN region.

This article first appeared on the official AFF Suzuki Cup website. For all the latest news in the lead-up to the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup ‘Like’ them on Facebook or follow them on twitter.

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