Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) flagship club competitions – the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup – are to become more lucrative next season with participating teams to receive double the travel contribution across all stages in the upcoming 2019 season.
In the AFC Champions League – which is already one of the richest continental competitions in world football – clubs stand to earn over US$60,000 per match from the group stage to the semi-finals, with the total contribution rising from US$4.2 million last year to US$8.4 million next year.
Meanwhile, in the AFC Cup, the total travel contribution has doubled from US$2.94 million in 2018 to US$5.88 million in 2019.
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AFC General Secretary, Dato’ Windsor John, who announced the increases during the 2019 club competitions’ draws at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said: “The AFC’s Vision and Mission is clear - we want to establish world-class competitions to ensure the success of our teams on the biggest stages and the investment in the future of club football in Asia is essential in achieving our ambitions.
“Each year, we set out with the aim of outshining the previous edition and each year we are witnessing new milestones in attendances, social media engagement and TV viewership.
“These enhancements will not only help our clubs focus entirely on delivering a performance of a lifetime at every stage of the competition, but ultimately increase the quality, prestige and stature for both continental titles.”
The latest enhancements signal the third significant investment in the AFC’s flagship club competitions in recent years.
The AFC Champions League saw its prize for the winners grow from USD$1.5 million to USD$3 million in 2016, before Kashima claimed the biggest-ever prize purse of USD$4 million this year. Similarly, the AFC Cup has risen almost fivefold from US$350,000 in 2015 to US$1.5 million in 2018.
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