AFC Champions League 2017
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.
Jeonbuk Motors became champion in 2017 AFC Champions League after defeating Al Ain FC Club of United Arab Emirates 3-2 after the two legs go on and on. This is a happy ending for the Korean soccer representative, who is also the defending champion K League Classic.
Hong Kong is in danger of losing a coveted spot in next year’s AFC Champions League group stage after the Asian Football Confederation confirmed league runners-up Kitchee will not be allowed to replace Premier League champions Eastern in the 2017 competition.
Eastern revealed in July they would be giving up the chance to become Hong Kong’s first-ever direct qualifier for the continental club competition after losing key financial support having claimed the top-flight title last season.
The Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) have since entered the names of Kitchee and also end of season play-off runners-up Southern, who would enter in the continental play-off stage, but that move is set to fall foul of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) competition rules. South Korea and Japan are currently allocated three automatic spots in the group stage of the 16-team East region plus one play-off berth.
AETOS Capital Group, a Sydney-based provider of FX and contracts for difference (CFDs), has announced that Western Sydney Wanderers will be their official partner in the 2017 AFC Champions League. Formed in 2012, the club’s record-breaking inaugural season won them the A-League premiership and saw the club reach the 2013 A-League Grand Final. The club also reached two further Grand Finals and its 2014 AFC Champions League success has been outstanding.
In 2017, Bengaluru FC will get to play in the second round of qualification straightaway, with their preliminary round match slated for January 31. If they win that, then they will be drawn against the 3rd-placed teams from the national leagues of one of Korea, Japan, Australia or China. Should they lose either of these one-off ties, they will join 2016 Federation Cup champions Mohun Bagan in the AFC Cup main draw. However, if they advance to the main draw of the Champions League, then a third Indian club will be given the second slot in the 2017 AFC Cup which will be taken up by Bengaluru FC in case they fail to qualify for the main draw of the Champions League.
The defeat on last season final will have come as a second disappointment in a forgettable year for Al Ain as the club also missed out on the 2015-2016 domestic championship, although their runners-up finish in the 2015-2016 UAE Arabian Gulf League will see them participate in the 2017 AFC Champions League with big hopes for winning the competition.
Also a notable news is that the AFC Disciplinary Committee also issued Al Nasr with a USD50,000 fine, instructed them to return all prize money earned in ACL 2016 (USD340,000) and excluded from ACL 2018 (suspended for probationary period of two years).