5. New format will improve competitiveness, attendance
The tournament will get a fresh coat of paint in 2018, with the group stage set to include 10 team divided into two groups. Over the long term, the move move should improve the level of play in Southeast Asia by giving smaller nations more competitive matches.
With each group stage participant playing two home and two away games in the new format, 2018 will hopefully mark the end of nearly-empty venues for “neutral” fixtures, giving Southeast Asia an opportunity to share its tremendous matchday atmospheres from the start.