ACL 2009 Draw set for January 7
KUALA LUMPUR: The draw for the revamped AFC Champions League (ACL) will be held on January 7 at the Emirates Group HQ in Dubai, starting at 11am local time.
Gamba Osaka’s victory in the Emperor’s Cup on January 1 provided the final piece of the jigsaw as they became the 30th team to qualify for the continent’ premier club competition.
The 2009 ACL will feature 32 teams in the group stages instead of the 28 in previous events. Prize money has been increased with US$1.5 million for the winners and US$750,000 for the runners-up.
Japan, China, Iran, Korea Republic and Saudi Arabia have four representatives in the competition because these countries were deemed to be the most professional in the way their leagues are run.
United Arab Emirates have three entries; there are two each from Australia, Qatar and Uzbekistan while Indonesia have one side playing in the main competition.
UAE and Indonesia also have on team each in the play-offs.
The group stage comprises eight pools of four teams each. No pool will have two teams from the same country. Groups A-D will feature West Asian and Central Asian teams while Groups E-H comprises East Asian and Asean teams.
The top two sides, after a round-robin, advance to the round of 16, in which the top teams are at home for a straight one-match, knock-out competition.
An open draw is then conducted for the quarter-finals. Home-and-away format will be used until the final, which is a one-off match in Tokyo.
The play-offs feature one team each from India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and UAE vying for two berths in the 32-team draw.
AFC Champions League Participating Clubs
Australia (two teams)
Central Coast Mariners
Korea Republic (four)
Saudi Arabia (four)
United Arab Emirates (three)
PSMS Medan (Indonesia)
Armed Forces (Singapore)
Provincial Electricity Authority (Thailand)
Al Sharjah (UAE)