News Church Boys United To Secure USD 1,00,000 If They Make It To Maiden AFC Challenge League™

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed the initial line-up of the first ever AFC Challenge League™ (ACGL) ahead of its kick-off next month.

Introduced as part of the revamped AFC Club Competitions structure, the new third-tier Continental men’s competition will bring together 18 aspiring teams to contend for glory.

In accordance with the 2024/25 slot allocation and club licensing requirements, one team each from three Member Associations (MAs) in the West region will qualify directly to the Group Stage, together with the two teams that are eliminated from the Preliminary Stage (West) of the AFC Champions League Two™ (ACL Two). In the East, one team each from the six MAs that submitted eligible entries have directly qualified for the Group Stage.

The remainder of the West cast will be decided by the Preliminary Stage battles on August 13, when the Kyrgyz Republic’s FC Abdysh-Ata play Afghanistan’s Attack FC and Nepal’s Church Boys United take on Bhutan’s Paro FC to determine the final two Group Stage berths.

Set to be played over three Matchdays between October 26 and November 2, each of the five groups in the Group Stage – three comprising four teams from the West in each group, two involving three teams from the East in each group – will feature a centralised host and see each side play their opponent once.

The full list of clubs, along with their respective MA rankings and slot allocations, can be found below:

Rank Member Association Club
Direct      Indirect
11   Kuwait             Al Arabi SC -
12   Turkmenistan       FC Arkadag  -
13   Lebanon            TBC         -
14   Syria              -           Al Futowa SC*
15   Bangladesh         -           Bashundhara Kings*
16   Oman               -           Al Seeb Club*
17   Maldives           -           Maziya Sports & Recreation*
18   Palestine          -           Hilal Al-Quds*
19   Kyrgyz Republic    -           FC Abdysh-Ata
20   Nepal              -           Church Boys United
22   Bhutan             -           Paro FC
23   Afghanistan        -           Attack FC

Note: In addition to the above, two teams that are eliminated from the ACL Two 2024/25 Preliminary Stage (West) will qualify directly for the ACGL 2024/25 Group Stage (West)
*Teams directly qualified to the Group Stage

Rank Member Association Club
Direct Indirect
12   Indonesia          -      Madura United FC*
13   Myanmar            -      Shan United FC*
14   Cambodia           -      Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC*
16   Chinese Taipei     -      Tainan City FC*
17   Laos               -      Young Elephants FC*
18   Mongolia           -      TBC*
*Teams directly qualified to the Group Stage

The official draw ceremony for the Group Stage will be conducted on August 22, 2024 with further details on the Draw Mechanics to be announced in due course.

Eight teams will progress from the Group Stage – the three Group winners and best-ranked runners-up from the West, and the top two finishers of each Group from the East – to the Quarter-finals, which will comprise double-legged ties to be contested between March 5 and 13, 2025.

The double-legged Semi-finals are scheduled to play out from April 9 to 17, 2025 and the winners will advance to the showdown Final on May 10, 2025.

The overview of the ACGL 2024/25 schedule can be found below:

A unique platform that will spotlight teams from across Asia’s emerging leagues, the ACGL is set to be a showcase of the diverse range of talents and capabilities that the Continent’s club footballing landscape has to offer.

All participating clubs will be supported by significant increases in financial distribution, as teams entering the Group Stage are guaranteed a minimum of USD100,000, with additional monies available based on their eventual placings, meaning that the champions will receive at least USD1.3 million.

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