The AFC Cup is an annual continental club football competition organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Under its current rules, the competition is played primarily between clubs from nations that did not receive direct qualifying slots in the top-tier AFC Champions League, based on the AFC Club Competitions Ranking.
|Number of teams||36|
|Related competitions||AFC Champions League|
|Current champions||Al-Ahed (1st title)|
|Most successful club(s)|| Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya|
(3 titles each)
|2019 AFC Cup|
Al-Kuwait and Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya are the most successful club in the competition's history, having won three titles each. Clubs from Kuwait have won four titles, making them the most successful nation in the competition. Ever since the inauguration of the competition in 2004, the finalists of each edition have been dominated by clubs from West Asia until 2015 when the Malaysian team Johor Darul Ta'zim from East Asia became one of the finalists and became champions. Al-Ahed are the current champions after defeating April 25 in the 2019 final.
The AFC Cup began in 2004 as a second tier competition to relate back to the AFC Champions League as 14 countries that had developing status competed in the first competition with 18 teams being nominated. Group A, B, C had West and Central Asian teams while the other two groups had east and South East Asia. The winners and three runners-up would then head to the knock-out stage where it was a random draw in who was going to play. Al-Jaish took the first AFC Cup after they defeated fellow Syrian opponents Al-Wahda on away goals.
In 2005, 18 teams competed from nine nations with the nations still being allowed to choose from one or two teams entering. After Syrian teams left the AFC Cup to try at the Champions League for four years, Al-Faisaly defeated Nejmeh in the final. With it, Jordanian teams would win the next two AFC Cup seasons with Bahrain joining the league while Bangladesh was relegated to the AFC President's Cup until the tournament's abolition in 2014.
Al-Muharraq would break the trend in 2008 as they competed in the last two-legged final before it headed back into a one-leg system which still runs to this day.
Some changes were applied in terms of teams and format for the 2017 AFC Cup. A total of 36 teams participate in the group stage (12 each from West Asia and ASEAN, and 4 each from East Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia). The final will be played as a one-off match.
Teams from only 27 AFC countries have reached the group stage of the AFC Cup. The allocation of those teams by member country is listed below; asterisks represent occasions where at least one team was eliminated in qualification for the group stage. 32 AFC countries have had teams participate in qualification, and countries that have never had teams reach the group stage are not shown.
|Phase||Purse (USD)||Travel subsidy |
|Knockout stage||Zonal champions: $100,000||$40,000|
|Final||Champions: $1.5 million
Results and statisticsEdit
Performance by clubsEdit
|Club||Winners||Runners-up||Years won||Years runners-up|
|Al-Kuwait||3||1||2009, 2012, 2013||2011|
|Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya||3||0||2016, 2017, 2018|
|Johor Darul Ta'zim||1||0||2015|
Performance by nationsEdit
All-time top goalscorersEdit
- As of 10 November 2018
|Aleksandar Đurić||Geylang United, Singapore Armed Forces, Tampines Rovers|
|Amjad Radhi||Erbil SC, Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya|
|Rico||Al-Muharraq, Al-Riffa, Al-Hidd|
|Ali Ashfaq||Club Valencia, New Radiant, VB Sports Club|
|Bader Al-Mutawa||Qadsia SC|
|Hammadi Ahmad||Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya|
|Mohammed Ghaddar||Nejmeh, Kelantan FA|
Like the AFC Champions League, the AFC Cup is sponsored by a group of multinational corporations, in contrast to the single main sponsor typically found in national top-flight leagues.
The tournament's current main sponsors are:
- AFC Cup 2019 Competition Regulations. Asian Football Confederatopm. p. 57. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
- "AFC increases prize money for 2018 club competitions". The AFC. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
- "AFC Cup League". Archived from the original on 27 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.