Thai clubs told to spruce up facilities

BANGKOK, April 4 (Reuters) - The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has told Thailand's football clubs to improve their facilities and youth programmes or face exclusion from the continent's Champions League.

"AFC appreciates the hard work put in by the Football Association of Thailand (FAT), Thai Premier League and the clubs to improve professional football," AFC director of competitions Tokuaki Suzuki said on the governing body's website on Monday.

"But Thailand still has some weak points such as stadiums, media facilities and operations, and youth development.

"If the clubs cannot improve their facility and programme to meet the criteria, they will not be able to play in the AFC Champions League from 2012-2014."

The AFC, speaking after completing an inspection tour of Thailand, has sought to strengthen the 32-team tournament by restricting it to professional teams and demanding they smarten up their infrastructure.

The governing body also threatened to exclude Indian League clubs from local and regional competitions last August over concerns they were not complying with standards.