2017 AFC Champions League
2017 AFC Champions League
31 January – 25 November 2017|
45 (from 17 associations)|
The 2017 AFC Champions League will be the 36th edition of Asia's premier club football tournament organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and the 15th under the current AFC Champions League title.
The winners of the 2017 AFC Champions League will qualify as the AFC representative at the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. If a team from the United Arab Emirates wins the AFC Champions League, the runners-up will also qualify (in place of the winners of the 2016–17 UAE Pro-League). Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors are the defending champions.
Association team allocation
The AFC Competitions Committee proposed a revamp of the AFC club competitions on 25 January 2014, which was ratified by the AFC Executive Committee on 16 April 2014. The 46 AFC member associations (excluding the associate member Northern Mariana Islands) are ranked based on their national team's and clubs' performance over the last four years in AFC competitions, with the allocation of slots for the 2017 and 2018 editions of the AFC club competitions determined by the 2016 rankings:
- The associations are split into West Zone and East Zone, with 23 associations in each zone:
- In each zone, there are a total of 12 direct slots in the group stage, with the 4 remaining slots filled through play-offs.
- The top 12 associations in each zone as per the AFC rankings are eligible to enter the AFC Champions League, as long as they fulfill the AFC Champions League criteria.
- The top six associations in each zone get at least one direct slot in the group stage, while the remaining associations get only play-off slots:
- The associations ranked 1st and 2nd each gets three direct slots and one play-off slot (in play-off round).
- The associations ranked 3rd gets two direct slots and two play-off slots (both in play-off round).
- The associations ranked 4th gets two direct slots and two play-off slots (both in preliminary round 2).
- The associations ranked 5th gets one direct slot and two play-off slots (both in preliminary round 2).
- The associations ranked 6th gets one direct slot and one play-off slot (in preliminary round 2).
- The associations ranked 7th to 12th each gets one play-off slot (in preliminary round 1).
- The maximum number of slots for each association is one-third of the total number of clubs in the top division (e.g., Australia can only get a maximum of three total slots as there are only nine Australia-based clubs in the A-League).
- If any association gives up its direct slots, they are redistributed to the highest eligible association, with each association limited to a maximum of three direct slots.
- If any association gives up its play-off slots, they are annulled and not redistributed to any other association.
The final association ranking used to determine the slot allocation was published on 27 November 2016, after the completion of the 2016 AFC Champions League and 2016 AFC Cup.
|Participation for 2017 AFC Champions League|
||Fulfills participation criteria|
||Does not fulfill participation criteria|
In the following table, the number of appearances and last appearance count only those since the 2002–03 season (including qualifying rounds), when the competition was rebranded as the AFC Champions League.
- ^ Hong Kong (HKG): Eastern, the 2015–16 Hong Kong Premier League champions, initially gave up their place in the AFC Champions League due to financial problems. As a result, the Hong Kong Football Association decided that Kitchee, the 2015–16 Hong Kong Season Play-off winners, would enter the group stage instead of the qualifying play-off, while Southern District, the play-off runners-up, would enter the qualifying play-off. However, the AFC did not allow Kitchee to replace Eastern in the AFC Champions League group stage, and Kitchee will still enter the qualifying play-off, while Southern District will not be able to participate in the AFC Champions League. On 21 November 2016, the Hong Kong Football Association announced they had reversed their decision and would put forward Eastern and Kitchee as their representatives.
- ^ Saudi Arabia (KSA): Al-Ittihad, the 2015–16 Saudi Professional League 3rd place, will not participate in the AFC Champions League due to club licensing requirements problems. As a result, Al-Taawoun, the league 4th place, will enter the group stage instead of the qualifying play-off, while Al-Fateh, the league 5th place, will enter the qualifying play-off.
- ^ Thailand (THA): Due to the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Football Association of Thailand cancelled the remainder of the 2016 Thai football season on 14 October 2016. The standings at the point of cancellation were declared as final, meaning Muangthong United and Bangkok United finished as the 2016 Thai Premier League champions and runners-up respectively. A draw was held among the four semi-finalists to decide the 2016 Thai FA Cup winners, and was won by Sukhothai.
The schedule of the competition is as follows (all draws are held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Starting from 2017, matches in the West Zone will be played on Mondays and Tuesdays instead of Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
||31 January 2017|
||7 February 2017|
||12 December 2016
||20–22 February 2017|
||27 February – 1 March 2017|
||13–15 March 2017|
||10–12 April 2017|
||24–26 April 2017|
||8–10 May 2017|
||Round of 16
||22–24 May 2017
||29–31 May 2017|
||21–23 August 2017
||11–13 September 2017|
||25–27 September 2017
||16–18 October 2017|
||18 November 2017
||25 November 2017|