SEOUL -- The last time a southeast Asian nation qualified for the soccer World Cup was 1938. There is plenty of passion for the game in this huge region situated between India and China, but countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia have fallen far behind one time rivals such as South Korea and Japan, now regarded as Asia's best.
In the hope of raising standards, soccer bosses in the region are launching a new competition for clubs, to be known as the ASEAN Super League. The league is due to kick off in August 2016 and will feature teams from most of the 12 nations that make up the ASEAN Football Federation, which is associated with the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations but operates independently.
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