Suzuki has been confirmed to return at the title sponsor of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championship.
The 2018 edition of the south-east Asian soccer federation’s biennial flagship competition will take its name from the motor corporation for the sixth successive occasion.
First played in 1996, the the AFF Suzuki Cup is contested by ten national teams from the region.
“This year will be the 12th time we have staged the AFF Football Championship and we are truly grateful to Suzuki Motor Corporation for embracing the region’s top footballing tournament as the title sponsor once again,” said AFF general secretary, Dato’ Sri Azzuddin Ahmad.
“It is incredible how quickly time has flown since the inaugural tournament was staged in Singapore in 1996. Not only has the tournament grown from strength to strength, it has created opportunities to groom football talent in the region and is today the most important regional stage for local teams to take the next step up.”
Thailand took a record fifth title in the 2016 tournament, when Myanmar and the Philippines hosted the group stages for the first time.
Suzuki’s renewal comes as the AFF Suzuki Cup undergoes changes to its format. Starting this year, the qualification round will see the two lowest-ranked Asean teams playing off against each other, with the winner joining the top nine ranked countries in the group stage.