DUSHANBE, December 3, 2012, Asia-Plus  -- The Executive Committee of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has approved Tajikistan for upgrade from AFC President’s Cup to AFC Cup for the 2013 edition, the Football Federation of Tajikistan (FFT) reports.

Two Tajik teams – Ravshan from Kulob and Regar-TadAz from Tursunzoda – will participate in the 2013 AFC Cup.  Tajikistan’s Cup winner Regar-TadAz will begin participation in the competition from the play-off round.

The 2013 AFC Cup will be the 10th edition of the AFC Cup, a football competition organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for clubs from “developing countries” in Asia.

The AFC Cup is an annual international association football competition between domestic clubs sides run by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Qualification to the competition is to clubs from AFC-affiliated countries which fall into the AFC''s ''developing nations'' category as laid out in their ''Vision Asia'' document.  Countries which are ''mature'' nations are entered into the AFC Champions League, and countries which are ''emerging'' nations are entered into the AFC President''s Cup.

The ''developing nations'' are the fourteen ''next-best'' countries which lie outside the top-14 countries in the AFC region which send their club sides to the more prestigious AFC Champions League. Before the reform in competition format that took place in 2009, the two competitions were not interlinked and AFC Champions League losers did not compete in the Cup.  Following the reform in 2009, finalists of the AFC Cup meeting AFC''s criteria and certain other eligible teams are allowed to compete in the qualifying round of AFC Champions League with the losers of the said round demote to play in the AFC Cup.