The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has today confirmed the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) as the Host Association for the AFC Champions League Elite – Final Stage for the 2024/25 and 2025/26 seasons.
The Continent’s top 24 clubs will be divided into two leagues of 12 teams across the West and East regions, who will compete in a home and away league format for a place in the Round of 16, where the eight winners will advance to the Final Stage.
In view of the most strategic and game changing reforms ever to be introduced in the history of the Asian club game, the Final Stage – comprising the Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Final – will be played in single-leg ties in Saudi Arabia.
The decisive battles of the AFC Champions League Elite – Final Stage 2024/25 are scheduled to be held from April 25 to May 4, 2025, with the eventual winners poised to claim the biggest-ever purse prize of USD12 million.
The financial reward is three times more than the USD4 million that the eventual victors of the AFC Champions League™ will receive this season. Similarly, the losing finalist will also receive a threefold increase of USD6 million from the USD2 million for this season’s runners-up.
On September 12, 2023, the AFC had issued an invitation to all its Member Associations (MAs) to submit their Expressions of Interest (EOI) to host the AFC Champions League Elite – Final Stage for a minimum of two (2) seasons starting from 2024/25.
Subsequently, two MAs – the Iraqi Football Association and the SAFF had submitted their EOIs within the stipulated deadline on October 15, 2023.
The SAFF was selected as the eventual host after evaluating the infrastructure and accommodation requirements as well as all other key operational aspects needed to stage a tournament befitting the prestige and stature of the Continent’s newly revamped premier club competition.
In accordance with the interest submitted, the SAFF was also awarded the hosting rights for the next three seasons from 2026/27 to 2028/29 provisionally, subject to the AFC’s review of the SAFF’s performance in the initial seasons and having due regard of the AFC’s general requirements with the hosting of the Competition, whilst also taking into consideration the progressive needs for each season as well as any other expressions of interest received by other AFC MAs.