AFC Champions League


AFC Champions League

infobox football tournament

founded = 2002
region = Asia (AFC)
number of teams = 28 + 1
current champions = flagicon|JPN Urawa Red Diamonds
most successful club = flagicon|IRN Esteghlal
flagicon|KSA Al-Ittihad
flagicon|KSAAl-Hilal
flagicon|KOR Suwon Samsung Bluewings
flagicon|KOR Pohang Steelers
flagicon|THA Thai Farmers Bank FC
flagicon|ISR Maccabi Tel Aviv
(2 times)
current = AFC Champions League 2008
The AFC Champions League is the current annual Asian club football competition hosted by Asian Football Confederation (AFC). In normal circumstances, 28 top clubs from fourteen Asian countries along with the defending champions competed in the tournament.

Including the results from Asian Champion Club Tournament and Asian Club Championships, seven clubs have won the tournament twice; Suwon Samsung Bluewings, Pohang Steelers, Al-Hilal, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Thai Farmers Bank FC, Esteghlal F.C. and Al Ittihad.

History

Asian Champion Club Tournament Era (1967-1972)

The competition started as the Asian Champion Club Tournament back in 1967. Eight domestic champions from eight Asian leagues competed in the inaugural season. With the exception of 1968 season, the tournament was held annually until 1971. During this first four editions, two Israeli clubs from Tel Aviv took three championships. In 1972, the tournament canceled due to a lack of interests which eventually resulted in withdrawals of most participants except for two clubs. The tournament was not held for next fourteen years. This also because professionalism in Asian club football did not start till late 90s and early 2000s.

Asian Club Championship Era (1985/86-2001/02)

Using old "European Cup" as a model, the tournament returned to Asia during the 1985/86 season with a new name, Asian Club Championship. Entry was restricted to the domestic champions of certain Asian leagues. Even so, few withdrawal were seen from year to year. From 1990, AFC introduced Asian Cup Winners Cup which, as the name suggest, was also restricted to domestic cup winners. The winners of these two Asian tournaments then played at the Asian Super Cup.

AFC Champions League Era (2002/03-present)

From 2002/03 season the three major Asian tournaments, "Asian Champions Cup", "Asian Cup Winners Cup", and "Asian Super Cup" was merged into one larger competition and was re-branded as AFC Champions League. In the previous years, the domestic champions and cup winners were sorted into two different continental tournaments, but now both domestic champions and cup winners enter into one competition. In the first edition, after several qualifying round, a total of sixteen clubs participated. The 2003/04 season was canceled due to SARS virus and the War in Iraq. The tournament was re-launched in 2004 season with 28 clubs from fourteen countries. In the current format, these 28 clubs are divided into 7 groups of four and plays double round-robin (home and away). The seven group winners along with defending champions qualifies to the quarter-final. Quarter-final, semi-final, and finals are two-legged series, with away goal, extra time, and penalties are used as tie-breaker.

Future Plans (2009 and beyond)

The champions league will be expanded to 32 clubs and entry will be limited to the top eleven Asian leagues. Each country will receive up to 4 slots depending on the strength of their league, league structure (professionalism), marketability, financial status and other criteria set out by the AFC Pro-League committee. New developments has suggested that the AFC Cup winner and runners-up will also to play in the qualifying rounds to determine which teams will participate in the group stage [http://www.the-afc.com/eng/articles/viewArticle.jsp_166101208.html Pro League incentive for AFC Cup] . The group round will be conducted in the same manner as the 2002/03-2008 edition; however, the only difference is that the eight group winners and eight runners-up will qualify to the round of 16.

Qualification

Current

The domestic champions of the top 14 Asian federations qualify automatically for the tournament, along with the respective cup winners of the same federations. The tournament holders receive a bye into the quarter-finals. Clubs in 2nd-tier countries enter the AFC Cup.

2009-2010

AFC Final Assessment Ranking

Note: The champion also receive at least $1 million at the FIFA Club World Cup.

Participating Associations

Asian Champion Club Tournament

By Club Statistics

* History of Iranian Football Club In Asian Tournaments
* Iraqi clubs at the AFC Champions League
* Thai clubs at the AFC Champions League
* Thai Clubs in Asian Club Championship

Top Scorers

ee also

*International club competition records

References

External links

* [http://www.the-afc.com/eng/competitions/news/index.jsp_ACL-08-08-485-1.html AFC Champions League Official Website]

AFC Champions League Seasons


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Look at other dictionaries:

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