The AFC Champions League is also known as the Asian Champions League. It is the premier football tournament for club teams across Asian, being akin to the UEFA Championship League tournament in Europe.
The League is under the operation of the Asian Football Confederation and it started back in 2002. It was a continuation to the Asian Club Championship that dates back to 1967.
There are 32 teams that take part in the AFC Champions League every season and it is always a highly competitive tournament for club teams across the continent.
The history of the AFC Champions League
The original form of the AFC Champions League was the Asian Club Championship that started in 1967.
This saw the champions of each of the nations in the region battling it out for the title. The first-ever iteration was a knockout tournament. The early days of the event saw some controversy, with Israeli teams tending to dominate.
This was largely because the Arab teams were refusing to play them. This led to the cancellation of a number of tournaments.
In 1972 that the AFC stopped hosting the event, with Israeli teams no longer being able to take part. It was in 1985 that the tournament resumed once more. It was in 1990 that the Asian Football Confederation created a new event called the Asian Cup Winners Cup. This saw all of the cup winners in each AFC country battling it out against each other.
It was in the 2002/2003 season that the AFC Champions League started. This came through the combination of the Asian Club Championship, Asian Super Cup and the Asian Cup Winners Cup. Every cup winner and league winner would get into the qualifying stages. The best eight clubs in East Asia and another eight clubs from West Asia would then make up the group stages. The first winner of the AFC Champions League was Al-Ain.
Two teams have won the AFC Champions League on three occasions, being Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal and South Korea’s Pohang Steelers. Ten teams have won the AFC Champions League on two occasions. Al-Hilal also holds the record for the most runner-up finishes in the AFC Champions League, with four second-place finishes. South Korea is the country with the most titles having won eleven titles with its clubs, with Japan being next with seven titles.
The format of the League
It was in 2009 that the competition transitioned into a 32 team competition. The leading ten Asian leagues were able to get entry spots into the tournament. Every country would have four slots, but there were certain criteria, such as financial, marketability and league strength that would also be a determinant for teams getting into the AFC Champions League.
In its current form, there are eight groups in the AFC Champions League, each made up of four teams. The winners and runner-up teams in these groups will make it to the quarter-final stage. These knockout games will take place over two legs, with the fixtures being matched regionally. There will be extra time and penalties if needed to decide the fixture. The regional restriction is in place until the final.
There are rules preventing teams from the same country playing each other from the quarter-final stage onwards in most cases. Since the 2013 final, there have been two legs for the final also, with home and away venues being used rather than neutral grounds. The plan from 2021 onwards is to expand the AFC Champions League to 40 teams. This would see five groups of four teams being created for the East and West regions.
Betting on the League at Roger.com
There are many great games that make up this League. The best teams for the region come together each season to be crowned as the best team in the continent. Therefore, these games are always highly competitive and the strongest teams line up each week. The spread of winners is decent, with no one or two teams dominating the AFC Champions League every year.
Most online betting sites will offer betting odds on the AFC Champions League for future markets, as well as on a game by game basis. This lawless you plenty of flexibility, as you can bet on a range of markets for AFC Champions League games. At Roger.com, you can see which are the best operators for doing so, seeing reviews of their operations in an objective manner.