January 20 – Barcelona are the most popular club online in China, the Premier League is most influential competition and Cristiano Ronaldo is still the player that excites Chinese more than any other, according to the latest Red Card Report from Mailman, published last week, which ranks online performance in the country.
January 22 – Saudi Arabia have become the first Asian country to qualify for the Olympic football tournament, alongside hosts Japan, after defeating reigning champions Uzbekistan 1-0 in the semi-finals of the AFC U-23 Championship in Bangkok, Thailand.
January 22 – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed it is moving two Asian Champions League preliminary matches out of Iran to neutral venues because of security concerns, a move that has infuriated Iranian authorities.
January 20 – Iran is considering boycotting the Asian Champions League after the Asian Football Confederation apparently banned the country’s clubs from staging home games.
January 17 – Hosts Thailand and defending champions Uzbekistan are among the teams that progressed to the last eight of the AFC U-23 Championship. Japan, Qatar and Iran were eliminated in the first round.
January 17 – In India, a new club has been born, ATK Mohun Bagan, following the merger of ATK and Kolkata giants and traditional powerhouse Mohun Bagan, integrating Bagan into the Indian Super League.
January 16 – The new boss of Australian football James Johnson wants to introduce a second-tier league to the domestic pyramid. He also singled out the bid for the 2023 Women’s World Cup and A-League independence as his priorities.
January 15 – Former Japanese international Keisuke Honda wants to found an amateur football club in Tokyo after a previously failed attempt to run a club in Austria.
January 14 – All India Football Federation president Praful Patel (pictured) has said that Indian football will enjoy “global recognition” by staging the U-17 Women’s World Cup this year.
January 8 – Iraq and Australia kicked off the AFC U-23 Championship in Thailand with a 1-1 draw today. At press time, hosts Thailand were playing Bahrain. The 16 teams are playing for three slots at this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games.
January 7 – The revamped Spanish Super Cup gets under way in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday but few Spanish fans have made the trip amid heightened political tensions in the region and mounting criticism of the tournament being held in another Continent in a country long condemned for its human rights record.
January 6 – Ali Al Habsi, the Omani goalkeeping legend who made a name for himself as the first Arab player from the GCC countries to play in the Premier League, has announced his retirement from international football, aged 38.
January 2 – Another political row as hit regional Asian football with North Korea withdrawing its women’s team from the final round of Olympic qualifiers being staged in South Korea in February.
By Paul Nicholson
December 30 – China has announced ten cities that will host the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) flagship Asian Cup in 2023. Beijing will be the lead city.
December 30 – The Chinese Super League has introduced a salary cap of £2 million a year, a move that will redraw clubs’ transfer policies and spending. Domestic players will be allowed to earn a maximum of £1.1 million a year.