AFC unveils format for new Women’s Champions League and revamps national team dates

August 21 – The AFC has unveiled the format for the first edition of the AFC Women’s Champions League that will kick off with a preliminary qualification stage in August 2024 before progressing to a group stage in October 2024.

The 12 clubs in the group stage will be divided into three groups of four teams, with matches played in a centralised single round robin format in each group.

The top two and the two best third-placed sides will advance to the Quarter-finals, which will be decided over a single leg tie at the venue of the higher ranked/seeded club in March 2025.

The Semi-finals and Final will also be a single-leg contest to be played in a centralised venue, 21-24 May 2025.
The format decisions were taken by the AFC Women’s Football Committee chaired by Kanya Keomany of the Laos FA, meeting in Sydney, Australia, before the final of the Women’s World Cup 2023.

A key decision from the meeting concerning Champions League qualification was an agreement to revise the implementation timeline of the club licensing criteria which will now be enforced from the 2028/29 season. This allows “a more feasible transition time for participating clubs” to adapt to the new rules, said the AFC.

From the 2028/29 season, Champions League slot allocation will be in accordance with the AFC Women’s Club Competitions Ranking and Women’s Club Licensing criteria.

For the 2024/25 to 2027/28 seasons, each national federation will be allowed one club entry.

Direct slots into the Group Stages, will be via Member Associations’ FIFA Ranking, while Preliminary Stage qualifications will be organised between clubs from lower ranked Member Associations depending on the number of entries.

AFC revamps national women’s team qualifiers
The AFC women’s committee also agreed to move the AFC Women’s Asian Cup to non-Women’s World Cup odd years, which will see the edition after the upcoming 2026 championship take place in 2029 instead of 2030.

The Committee also agreed to simplify the qualification format of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, to be implemented from the 2027 to 2031 cycle.

The AFC said the moves were “part of efforts to enhance the value and stature of the AFC’s women’s national team competitions in the coming years”.

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