At least nobody can accuse Asia’s soccer authorities of failing to sweat the small stuff. It would be easy to overlook the little things, after all, when their job is to nurture and promote the most popular sport on the planet for the benefit of almost 5 billion people spread across a third of the world’s landmass.

In many ways, then, it is admirable that the Asian Football Confederation can still find the time to dictate precisely which water bottles, with which labels, fans should be allowed to carry into stadiums. That kind of attention to detail should reassure you that soccer’s future — from Beirut to Beijing, and Ulaanbaatar to Hobart — is in safe hands.

Unfortunately, that is not quite the picture that emerges from a report, commissioned by soccer’s global players’ union, FIFPro, assessing the benefits and shortcomings of Asia’s most prestigious club competition, the Asian Champions League. Instead, the report documents a tournament that acts as an almost perfect microcosm of soccer’s general direction across the globe.