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Temporada

Qualification:
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54 teams from 24 AFC member are eligible to enter the competition.
All 46 full AFC member countries are based on their national team's and clubs' performance over the last four years in AFC competitions.

24 quotas for direct participation in the Group stage (12 from West Asia and 12 from East Asia) are allocated as follows:
- East Asia:
- 3 teams each for the countries, ranked 1st-2nd in East Asia;
- 2 teams each for the countries, ranked 3rd-4th in East Asia;
- 1 team each for the countries, ranked 5th-6th in East Asia.
- West Asia:
- 3 teams each for the countries, ranked 1st-2nd in West Asia;
- 2 teams each for the countries, ranked 1st-2nd in West Asia;
- 1 teams each for the countries, ranked 1st-2nd in West Asia.

8 more group stage quotas (4 for East Asia teams and 4 for West Asia teams) are contested in Qualifying Play-offs.
30 quotas for participation in the Qualifying Play-offs are allocated as follows (teams from countries with higher ranking enter at later stages):
- East Asia:
- entering at the 3rd Qualifying Round: 1 team each for the countries, ranked 1st-4th in East Asia;
- entering at the 2nd Qualifying Round: 2 teams each for the country, ranked 5th in East Asia;
- entering at the 1st Qualifying Round: 1 team each for the countries, ranked 7th-12th in East Asia.
- West Asia:
- entering at the 3rd Qualifying Round: 1 team each for the countries, ranked 1st-4th in West Asia;
- entering at the 2nd Qualifying Round: 2 teams each for the country, ranked 5th in West Asia and 1 team each for the countries, ranked 3rd, 4th and 6th in East Asia;
- entering at the 1st Qualifying Round: 1 team each for the countries, ranked 7th-12th in West Asia.

Of the 54 eligible teams, 47 teams enter the competition, which in turn changes the competition structure.


Qualifying Play-offs:
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Format:
23 teams contest 8 places in the Group stage in a knockout format.

1st Qualifying Round - East Asia Zone:
2 teams are distributed into 1 pair.
Teams from the same country cannot be paired against each other.
Winners are decided over one leg, with extra time and penalties if score is level after regular time.
The team from higher ranked country is host.

2nd Qualifying Round - East Asia Zone:
1 team from the 1st Qualifying Round - East Asia Zone and the 7 teams that enter the competition at this stage are distributed into 4 pairs.
Teams from the same country cannot be paired against each other.
Winners are decided over one leg, with extra time and penalties if score is level after regular time.
The teams from higher ranked countries are hosts.

2nd Qualifying Round - West Asia Zone:
4 teams that enter the competition at this stage are distributed into 2 pairs.
Teams from the same country cannot be paired against each other.
Winners are decided over one leg, with extra time and penalties if score is level after regular time.
The teams from higher ranked countries are hosts.

3rd Qualifying Round - East Asia Zone:
4 teams from the 2nd Qualifying Round - East Asia Zone and the 4 teams that enter the competition at this stage are distributed into 4 pairs.
Teams from the same country cannot be paired against each other.
Winners are decided over one leg, with extra time and penalties if score is level after regular time.
The teams from higher ranked countries are hosts.

3rd Qualifying Round - West Asia Zone:
2 teams from the 2nd Qualifying Round - West Asia Zone and the 6 teams that enter the competition at this stage are distributed into 4 pairs.
Teams from the same country cannot be paired against each other.
Winners are decided over one leg, with extra time and penalties if score is level after regular time.
The teams from higher ranked countries are hosts.

Qualification for the Group stage:
the four 3rd Qualifying Round - East Asia Zone winners: qualify for the Group stage
the four 3rd Qualifying Round - West Asia Zone winners: qualify for the Group stage


Group stage:
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Format:
32 teams are drawn into 8 groups of 4 teams each (Groups A-H).
Teams are distributed into 2 pots, based on regional basis, as follows:
East Asia: teams from Korea Republic, Japan, Australia, China PR, Thailand, Hong Kong and Thailand, four winners from the 3rd Qualifying Round - East Asia Zone;
West Asia: teams from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, four winners from the 3rd Qualifying Round - West Asia Zone.
Teams in groups A-D are drawn only from the West Asia pot.
Teams in groups E-H are drawn only from the East Asia pot.
Teams from the same country cannot be drawn in the same group.
Each team plays the others from its own group twice - home and away - for a total of 6 games each, over 6 game weeks.

Scoring points:
3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss.

Table order:
1. points won; 2. points in head-to-head matches; 3. goal difference in hth matches; 4. goals scored in hth matches; 5. total goal difference; 6. total goals scored; 7.* penalties; 8. fairplay ranking; 9. draw.
* - only if exactly two teams are tied and both are on the field of play against each other in the final game week.

Qualification for the Knockout stage:
1-2 place of each group: qualify for the Knockout stage


Knockout stage:
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Format:
16 teams from the Group stage contest the AFC Champions League winner in a knockout format.

8th Finals:
Teams are paired according to their Group stage standings:
1st in Group A vs 2nd in Group C (match 1);
1st in Group B vs 2nd in Group D (match 2);
1st in Group C vs 2nd in Group A (match 3);
1st in Group D vs 2nd in Group B (match 4);
1st in Group E vs 2nd in Group G (match 5);
1st in Group F vs 2nd in Group H (match 6);
1st in Group G vs 2nd in Group E (match 7);
1st in Group H vs 2nd in Group F (match 8).
Winners are decided over two legs.
The group winners host the second legs.

Quarter-finals:
8 teams are drawn into 4 pairs.
Teams are distributed into 2 pots, based on regional basis, as follows:
West Asia: the 4 winners from matches 1-4;
East Asia: the 4 winners from matches 5-6.
Teams from the same country cannot be drawn against each other if it can be avoided.
Winners are decided over two legs.
Hosting is determined by the draw.

Semi-finals:
4 teams are drawn into 2 pairs.
Teams are distributed into 2 pots, based on regional basis, as follows:
West Asia: the 2 winners from the Quarter-finals involving West Asia pot teams;
East Asia: the 2 winners from the Quarter-finals involving East Asia pot teams.
Teams from the same country cannot be drawn against each other if it can be avoided.
Winners are decided over two legs.
Hosting is determined by the draw.

Final:
The two Semi-finals winners meet each other with the winner becoming AFC Champions League winner.
Winner is decided over two legs.
Hosting is determined by draw.

Tie-breakers for the knockout matches over two legs:
1. aggregate score from the two legs, 2. away goals 3. extra time, 4. penalties.

Qualification for FIFA competitions:
winner: qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup