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AFC Champions League 2022: Key dates, how to watch, teams, prize money, star players and past winners
The 2022 edition of the AFC Champions League has officially kicked off with Asia’s best teams vying to be crowned champions of the continent.
Saudi Arabian giants Al-Hilal claimed the title last year after defeating Pohang Steelers 2-0 in the final.
Here’s everything you need to know about the current campaign…
Key dates for the AFC Champions League 2022
|Stage||Date (East Region)||Date (West Region)|
|Group stage MD1||April 15-16||April 7-8|
|Group stage MD2||April 18-19||April 10-11|
|Group stage MD3||April 21-22||April 14-15|
|Group stage MD4||April 24-25||April 18-19|
|Group stage MD5||April 27-28||April 22-23|
|Group stage MD6||April 30 – May 1||April 26-27|
|Round of 16||August 18-19||February 3-4 (2023)|
|Quarter-finals||August 22||February 7 (2023)|
|Semi-finals||August 25||February 10 (2023)|
|First leg||February 19, 2023|
|Second leg||February 26, 2023|
The AFC Champions League group stage was supposed to begin in February but was delayed by two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That delay means the entire group stage has been squeezed into a single month with the final then not taking place until February 2023.
How to watch or stream the AFC Champions League 2022
|Australia||USA||Canada||India||Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore|
|TV channel||–||–||–||Star India||–|
|Streaming||Paramount+, 10Play||Paramount+||Paramount+||Disney+ Hotstar, JioTV||Eleven Sports|
ViacomCBS are a major broadcaster of the AFC Champions League with all games available via their streaming service Paramount+ in a range of territories.
The platform has become a big player of late when it comes to football rights with free trials available for new users.
Which teams have qualified for the AFC Champions League in 2022?
A total of 40 teams will be competing in the AFC Champions League group stage.
The competition was expanded from 32 to 40 teams in 2021.
These are the teams vying for the title in 2022:
|Sharjak||United Arab Emirates||A|
|Al-Jazira||United Aram Emirates||B|
|Shabab Al-Ahli||United Arab Emirates||C|
|Urawa Red Diamonds||Japan||F|
|Lion City Sailors||Singapore||F|
|Daegu FC||South Korea||F|
|BG Pathum United||Thailand||G|
|Jeonnam Dragons||South Korea||G|
|Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors||South Korea||H|
|Yokohama F. Marinos||Japan||H|
|Hoang Anh Gia Lai||Vietnam||H|
|Johor Darul Ta’zim||Malaysia||I|
|Ulsan Hyundai||South Korea||I|
AFC Champions League prize money
Aside from the actual title, progressing in and winning the ACL brings with it a significant amount of prize money for clubs.
This is how the prize money will be distributed in 2022:
|Result||Prize money (USD)|
|Group stage win||$50,000|
|Group stage draw||$10,000|
|Round of 16||$100,000|
AFC Champions League star players to watch out for
As ever, there are a whole host of stars competing in the AFC Champions League in 2022.
Former Barcelona star Andres Iniesta will be lining up for Japanese side Vissel Kobe and is joined by another ex-Barca player in the form of Bojan Krkic.
Qatari club Al Sadd, who were previously coached by Barcelona manager Xavi, also boast some big names via former Premier League duo Santi Cazorla and Andre Ayew.
Not to be outdone, Chinese side Shanghai Port have ex-Chelsea star Oscar in their team along with Brighton’s former Aussie Aaron Mooy.
AFC Champions League past winners
Al-Hilal became the competition’s most successful club when they collected their fourth title in 2021.
They were previously level with Pohang Steelers, who have lifted the trophy three times.
South Korea remain the most successful country in the ACL with their clubs lifting the title 12 times.
Here are the most recent AFC Champions League winners:
|Urawa Red Diamonds||2017|
|Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors||2016|
|Western Sydney Wanderers||2014|