Bengaluru FC have benefitted from the recent merger of I-League champions Mohun Bagan and ATK as they will get a play-offs spot in next season's AFC Cup despite finishing third in the Indian Super League (ISL).
FC Goa have got a direct berth in the group stage of the continent's top-tier club competition, AFC Champions League as league phase winners of ISL. The I-League champions get a direct berth in the continent's second tier club competition, the AFC Cup, and thus the merged ATK-Mohun Bagan side will avail that slot.
The ISL league stage runners-up side were to get the play-offs berth of the AFC Cup. But since runners-up ATK have merged with Mohun Bagan, AIFF decided to give the slot to third-placed BFC.
"The AFC Cup play-off slot goes to Bengaluru FC who finished third in the 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," the AIFF said.
Bengaluru FC, the first Indian team to make an AFC competition final (in 2016), failed to make it to the AFC Cup group stages last season after losing to Maziya in the playoffs.