Al-Arab reveals the path to the Elite League…a daunting task awaits Al-Sadd and Al-Rayyan in front of the giants of the continent

Written By Mark

Al Sadd, Al Rayyan, and then Al Gharafa, if they succeed in passing the qualifiers, are waiting for an arduous task in the first and new edition of the AFC Champions League for the elite, which will include the continent’s best teams, whether in the West or the East, competing for the most expensive prizes, which amount to $12 million for the champion, and $6 million for the runner-up. .
The arduous task will not only be limited to facing the elite clubs in the West during the group stage, but extends to increasing the number of matches, after increasing the number of participating teams, as the best 12 teams in the West and the best 12 teams in the East will participate in the tournament, and thus the number of group stage matches will increase. For the first time, there will be 8 matches instead of 6 matches.
In addition to all of this, starting from the quarter-finals, the championship matches will be held in a group system (qualifying from one match) on Saudi stadiums in the period from April 25 to May 4, 2025.
Each team in the group stage will have 8 matches in a home-and-away system, whether in the West or the East, 4 of which will be at home and 4 away from home, and the top eight teams will qualify for the round of 16, whose matches will also be held in a home-and-away system, and the teams will qualify for the quarter-finals.
The features of the participating teams have become clear so far, whether in the West or the East, as 11 teams from the West are guaranteed to play in the new version of the tournament, namely Al-Sadd and Al-Rayyan (Qatar), Al-Ain of the Emirates, the champion of the AFC Champions League 2024, Al-Wasl, the champion of the Emirati League, and from Saudi Arabia, Al-Hilal in the Champions League. Asia 2023: Al-Nasr is the league runner-up, Al-Ahly is third in the league, Persepolis is the league champion, Esteghlal is the league runner-up, Pakhtakor is the Uzbek league champion, and the Iraqi league champion, which is led so far by Al-Shorta.
There is one seat remaining for which 3 teams are competing: Al-Gharafa, third in the league, Shabab Al-Ahly of the Emirates, and an Iranian team. Al-Ahly will meet the Iranian team first, and the winner of them will meet Al-Gharafa in Doha on August 13. The winner of this match will join the teams that qualified for the group stage, which begins on the 16th. Next September 18.
AFC Champions League 2
As for the second tournament in which the Qatari clubs participate, it is the AFC Champions League, in which Al-Wakrah represents us, the fourth in the league, as it plays directly in the group stage for the first time in its history. This tournament was the one that was held annually until the current season and only its name changed, but its system remained as usual, as it will be distributed. The participating teams are divided into 8 groups, each group includes 4 teams, competing in the usual way, with the first in each group and the best 4 seconds to reach the round of 16.
The features of the teams participating in this tournament have been determined, and in addition to Al-Wakrah, there are Saudi Al-Taawoun, Iran’s Sepahan, Uzbek’s Nasaf, Jordan’s Al-Hasim, Tajikistan’s Esteghlal, India’s Mohun Bagan, and Bahrain’s Al-Khalidiya, and the list is completed with the completion of tournaments in some countries, in addition to the two losers in the Champions League qualifiers. Asia for the elite.
There are teams participating in the AFC Champions League 2 qualifiers, namely Al-Faisaly of Jordan, Al-Ahly of Bahrain, Al-Kuwait of Kuwait, Roshen Kulab of Tajikistan, East Bengal Club, and Arkadag.