The current Asian AFC champions League was started in 2002 but its inception goes long back to Asian Club Championship. Most prominent clubs compete in the championship among 32 others for qualification and are selected to play in the FIFA Club world cup. Al-Hilal and Pohang steelers currently dominate the championship whereas Al-Hilal, a Saudi based club, is its current champion who scored their third win last time in 20019. The thirty-two teams don’t qualify automatically for the next years and are divided into 8 groups during their matches.
The number of teams:
Asian AFC Champions League is the most popular football league based out of Asia. It comprises of 32 teams divided into 8 groups to contest each other on the field. The current league is the continuation of the Asian Club Championship that started in 1967.
The prize money:
In comparison to its counterparts like Euros, the Champions league holds a special place in the football arena of Asia. Countries like Saudi Arabia, China, and even Australia compete and can make their way towards the world cup. The prize money for the finals is $120,000 and semi-finals are USD 60000.
As of 2011, there has been a hike in the viewership of the game. Only in China, a huge number of people tuned in to their TV sets to watch China’s match with Tokyo. The AFC puts these figures at 13.5 million. The rates are anticipated to rise at a higher rate which according to the organizers of the league can be credited to the modern outreach of the game.
The league matches have their cut of multi-national sponsors. These include Fly Emirates, Molten, Nikon, Toyota, Seiko, and PES. With the popularity of the game touching new heights, an increase in the number of sponsors is expected to increase in the coming years.
Champions League has made quite a spot for itself. From being recognized as one of the important football league, it has engineered its way into electronic entertainment. The current license holder for the production of Champion league games lies with Konami.
Al-Hilal is the current champions of the league with a score of three wins and four runner-ups. The club managed to win its third game in 2009. Its followed by Pohang Steelers who have three wins in their account from 1997, 98 and 2009. The third spot is manned by an Iranian football club Esteghlal with two wins and two runner-ups.
Football is a game of records and with so many skilled players on the field, a record or two are destined to be broken. In 2006, Choi Jin-cheul was awarded the most valuable player of the game while Chinese international football player Hai Haidong has the record of being the top scorer counting 9 goals in 2002-03.
The number of teams participating in the league is to be risen by 2021. Currently, 32 teams compete in the game but this number will be increased to accommodate other clubs stretching to 40. This will help new teams to join the league
In comparison to its European competitors, Champions League has an Upper hand in the Asian Football Arena. Its reach cuts across various diversities and regions together and at the same time generating a huge crowd. Over the years, the audience influx has only hiked due to the promotions and awareness of the game.
Asian Champions League has its place in the sports world. Since the time it came to be, it’s proven itself to an institution that nurtures and contributes one of the best-skilled players to the game. Its contribution towards the game can’t be overlooked where it has brought football to rural as well as urban areas of Asia. However, in contrast to its European counterparts, its got a long way to go, but given the current position, it no doubt is uplifting itself to the newest heights.