September 5 – The draw for the AFC Women’s Club Championship 2023 will be held Thursday, the last time the competition will be staged before the launch of the AFC Women’s Champions League for the 2024/25 season.
The eight invited clubs in the draw will be divided into two groups of four teams who will play in centralised venues in Uzbekistan and Thailand, November 6 to 12. The two group winners will qualify for the final.
The 2023 edition of the championship marks a three-team expansion for previous women’s club test events. The clubs will be seeded for the draw based on the latest FIFA Women’s World Ranking of their national association following the just completed Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023.
WE League champions Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies of Japan will be the top seed, securing a spot in Pot 1.
WE League champions Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies of Japan and A-League Women champions Sydney FC will be the top seeds and placed in Pot 1.
Meanwhile, Pot 2 will host third seeds and defending champions of Korea Republic’s WK League, the Hyundai Steel Red Angels Women’s FC, as well as five-time Chinese Taipei women’s league winners Hualien Women’s Football Team, who are seeded fourth in the competition.
Pot 3, on the other hand, will host Thailand’s Bangkok FC, who clinched their maiden Thai Women’s League title in 2023, and defending champions of the Uzbekistan Women’s League, FC Nasaf, earlier known as Sevinch Qarshi.
Finally, Pot 4 will feature the current national champions from India, Sree Gokulam Kerala Football Club, and runners-up of the AFC Women’s Club Championship 2022 (West) and Kowsar Women Football League winners, Bam Khatoon from the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Pot 1 (teams ranked 1-2): Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies, Sydney FC
Pot 2 (3-4): Hyundai Steel Red Angels Women’s FC, Hualien Women’s Football Team
Pot 3 (5-6): Bangkok FC, FC Nasaf
Pot 4 (7-8): Sree Gokulam Kerala Football Club, Bam Khatoon
Women’s Champions League launch
The format for the first edition of the AFC Women’s Champions League will kick off with a preliminary qualification stage in August 2024 before progressing to a group stage in October 2024.
For the 2024/25 to 2027/28 seasons, each national federation will be allowed one club entry. This allows clubs time to work towards implementation of AFC club licensing criteria which will now be enforced from the 2028/29 season.
The 12 clubs in the group stage in 2024 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 single-leg contests to be played in a centralised venue, 21-24 May 2025.
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