First edition of AFC Women’s Champions League to kick off with 22 clubs

Odisha FC women's team will represent India at the inaugural edition of AFC Women's Champions League.

Update: 2024-06-14 05:45 GMT

Odisha FC women's team clinched the IWL 2023-24 title. (FILE PHOTO: Odisha FC/X)

Heralding a new era of success and progress for women’s football in Asia, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed, on Friday, the number of participating teams for the highly-anticipated inaugural season of the AFC Women’s Champions League, which will get underway in August.

Twenty-two Member Associations (MAs) who have expressed interest in taking part will each be represented by one club for the landmark 2024/25 campaign of the showpiece, which was announced last August.

Odisha FC, the Indian Women's League (IWL) season 202-24 champions, will represent India at this the inaugural edition of AFC Women's Champions League.

The format 

Clubs from the top eight MAs, as ranked according to the latest FIFA Women’s World Ranking (as of 15 March 2024), will qualify directly to the Group Stage, which comprises three groups of four teams to be contested in a centralized league format from October 6 to 12.

The remaining 14 clubs will have to make it through the Preliminary Stage that features four groups – two groups of four teams and two groups of three - to be played in a centralized league format between August 25 and 31, with the four group winners qualifying for the Group Stage.

Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand will host one group each in the Preliminary Stage, while China PR and Vietnam will be hosting one group each in the Group Stage. The third remaining host for the Group Stage will be identified after the Draw Ceremony and confirmed prior to the commencement of the Group Stage.

The official draw ceremonies for both the Preliminary Stage and Group Stage will be conducted on Thursday, July 18 at the AFC House.

The dynamic format, aligned with the AFC’s determination for women’s football to flourish, will see the top two finishers of each group and the two best third-placed sides progress to the Quarter Finals to be played on March 22 and 23, 2025. A Knockout Stage draw will be conducted prior to the Quarter Finals to determine the four pairings, which will be contested in a single-leg format, with the higher-ranked team of each tie to serve as the home side.

This will be followed by a centralized Finals, which will see the Semi Finals and Final – all single-leg ties – being played out from May 21 to 24, 2025

The list of clubs and their respective MA rankings can be found below:

Rank Member Association Club

1 Japan Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies

2 DPR Korea Naegohyang Women's FC

3 Australia Melbourne City FC

4 China PR Wuhan Jiangda Women’s FC

5 Korea Republic Hyundai Steel Red Angels Women’s FC

6 Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City Women’s FC

7 Philippines Kaya FC-Iloilo

8 Chinese Taipei Taichung Blue Whale Women’s Football Team

9 Thailand TBC*

10 Uzbekistan PFC Nasaf

11 Myanmar Myawady Women Football Club

12 Islamic Republic of Iran Bam Khatoon FC

13 India Odisha Football Club

14 Jordan Etihad Club

15 Hong Kong, China TBC*

16 Laos Young Elephants FC

17 Malaysia Sabah FA

18 Nepal APF Football Club

19 United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Country Club

20 Singapore Lion City Sailors FC

21 Bhutan RTC FC

22 Saudi Arabia Al Nassr Club

*clubs to be confirmed following completion of ongoing domestic competition(s)

Attractive prize purse

Set to be a thrilling showcase of top-class women’s club football, the AFC Women’s Champions League will also feature an attractive prize purse – every participating club in the Group Stage will each receive a minimum of USD100,000, with additional monies available depending on their eventual placings, meaning that the first ever champions of the prestigious tournament can expect to be rewarded with at least USD1.3 million.

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