This season’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League is set for a thrilling finale, with Korea Republic’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates competing for the biggest prize purse in Asian club competition history.
Jeonbuk and Al Ain will line up for the first leg of the AFC Champions League final on Saturday at the Jeonju World Cup stadium in Korea Republic. The return leg is in Al Ain on November 26.
The AFC doubled the Champions League winners’ prize money, from US$1.5 million to US$3 million, for this season making it one of the richest Continental club competitions in the world.
In addition to the winners receiving US$3 million this season, the award for the runners-up has also been doubled to US$1.5 million. The semi-finalists received US$200,000 this season, up from US$120,000.
Only the UEFA Champions League offers a bigger pot than the AFC Champions League, which is on a par with the prize money for CONMEBOL’s Copa Libertadores winners.
AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “The AFC Executive Committee decided to increase the prize money on offer for our top club competitions, the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup final, to reward success and to further increase the appeal of the competition.
“An objective in our Vision and Mission, is the AFC’s commitment to develop world-class competitions as we strive to ensure the success of our teams on the biggest stages.
“In addition to elevating the standard of our teams, the investment in our club competitions will also pave the way for greater fan engagement and increased sponsor and broadcaster interests, as we have already seen this season.”
The 2016 AFC Cup also saw a sharp rise with clubs earning a total of US$2.1 million – an increase of US$1.5 million from 2015. Air Force Club, who created history as the first Iraqi club to win the competition, were rewarded with US$1 million, increasing from US$350,000 for the winners in 2015.
Similarly, the purse for this year’s runners-up, JSW Bengaluru FC (IND) was also doubled to US$500,000 from the previous year.