JEDDAH: Al-Hilal FC has been named Asia’s Club of the Century based on an exhaustive study by Inernational Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS), an organization recognized but not affiliated with FIFA, the world soccer governing body. It is based in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The Riyadh-based club was accorded the recognition 19 days after IFFHS voted Real Madrid as the Club of the Century for the period 1901 and 2001.
Also, the news of Hilal’s selection on Tuesday sent Saudi football in celebration mode as could be gleaned from excited television commentators covering matches in the Zain Saudi Professional League.
According to its website, IFFHS has decided to determine the Asian club of the century (1901-2000) and with it the continental ranking of the century, using the individual match results of the later rounds of the continental club competitions - analogous to Europe, South America and Africa. The national competitions are merely a prerequisite to qualification for the continental club competitions. Regional continental and intercontinental club competitions were not taken into consideration.
IFFHS said “ the major upturn of the Asian football, which began in the last decade of the 20th century, finally crystalized with two top clubs each from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Japan and the Republic of Korea as the best of the 20th century. Al-Hilal FC Riyadh, with a clear lead, became Asia’s Club of the Century. With it there is now a sovereign club of the century for each of the football continents, all determined by using the same standard basic principles across all continents.”
Another Saudi club, Al-Nasr, made the top 10 in the poll at sixth place, just behind Seongnam Ilhwa FC Chunma of South Korea.
Here are the top 10 Asian clubs of the century: 1. Al-Hilal FC Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) 2. FC Yokohama F. Marinos (Japan) 3. Esteghlal FC Tehran (Iran) 4. Persepolis FC Tehran (Iran) 5. Seongnam Ilhwa FC Chunma (South Korea) 6. Al-Nasr Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) 7. Pohang Steelers FC (South Korea) 8. Tokyo Verdy (Japan) 9. Liaoning Hongyun FC (China) 10. FC thai Farmers Bank Bangkok (Thailand).