AFC Champions League 2022: When is it, how to watch, remaining teams, prize money, star players and previous ACL winners
The 2022 edition of the AFC Champions League has officially begun as Asia’s top teams vie to be crowned the continent’s champions.
Saudi Arabian giants Al-Hilal clinched the title last year after beating Pohang Steelers 2-0 in the final.
Here’s everything you need to know about the current campaign…
When will the AFC Champions League 2022 be played?
|stage||Date (East Region)||Date (West Region)|
|Group stage MD1||15-16 April||7th-8th April|
|Group stage MD2||18-19 April||10th-11th April|
|Group stage MD3||21-22 April||14-15 April|
|Group stage MD4||24-25 April||18-19 April|
|Group stage MD5||27-28 April||22-23 April|
|Group stage MD6||April 30 – May 1||26-27 April|
|round of 16||18-19 August||3rd-4th February (2023)|
|quarter finals||August 22nd||February 7 (2023)|
|semifinals||25.8||February 10 (2023)|
|final (first leg)||February 19, 2023|
|final (second leg)||February 26, 2023|
The group stage of the AFC Champions League was due to start in February but was delayed by two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This delay means the entire group stage has been squashed into a single month, with the final taking place in February 2023.
Each knockout game, with the exception of the final, will be played over a single leg.
The next edition of the AFC Champions League is not expected to start until mid-2023.
How to watch and stream the AFC Champions League in 2022
|Australia||United States of America||Canada||India||Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore|
|TV channel||–||–||–||Star India||–|
|stream||Paramount+, 10Play||Outstanding+||Outstanding+||Disney+ Hotstar, JioTV||Eleven sports|
ViacomCBS is a major broadcaster of the AFC Champions League with all matches available through its Paramount+ streaming service in a number of territories.
The platform has recently become a big player when it comes to soccer rights, with free trials for new users.
Which teams remain in the AFC Champions League this year?
A total of 39 teams participated in the group stage of the AFC Champions League after the port of Shanghai was forced to pull out due to the COVID situation in China. The competition expanded from 32 to 40 teams in 2021.
These teams are still fighting for the title when we advance to the round of 16:
|Al Hilal||Saudi Arabia||west|
|Shabab Al-Ahli||United Arab Emirates||west|
|Al Faisaly||Saudi Arabia||west|
|Daegu FC||South Korea||east|
|Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors||South Korea||east|
|BG Pathum United||Thailand||east|
|Johor Darul Ta’zim||Malaysia||east|
|Red Urawa Diamonds||Japan||east|
|Yokohama F. Marinos||Japan||east|
AFC Champions League prize money: how much do teams get?
Aside from the actual title, progressing and winning the ACL comes with a significant amount of prize money for clubs.
This is how the 2022 prize money will be distributed:
|result||Prize money (USD)|
|Group stage win||$50,000|
|Group stage draw||$10,000|
|round of 16||$100,000|
Star players to watch out for in AFC Champions League 2022
As always, numerous stars will compete in the AFC Champions League in 2022.
Former Barcelona star Andres Iniesta will play for Japanese club Vissel Kobe and will be joined by another ex-Barca player in the form of Bojan Krkic.
Qatari club Al Sadd, previously coached by Barcelona manager Xavi, also boast some big names in former Premier League duo Santi Cazorla and Andre Ayew.
Previous winners of the AFC Champions League
Al-Hilal became the most successful club in the competition as they clinched their fourth title in 2021.
They were previously level with Pohang Steelers, who lifted the trophy three times.
South Korea remains the most successful country in the ACL, with their clubs having won the title 12 times.
Here are the recent winners of the AFC Champions League:
|Red Urawa Diamonds||2017|
|Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors||2016|
|Western Sydney Wanderers||2014|