The AFC Champions League, commonly known as the Asian Champions League, is an annual continental club football competition organised by the Asian Football Confederation(AFC). Introduced in 2002, the competition is a continuation of the Asian Club Championship which had started in 1967. It is the premier club tournament in Asia, equivalent to the CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores, and the UEFA, CAF, CONCACAF and OFC Champions League competitions.
A total of 32 clubs compete in the round robin group stage of the competition. Clubs from Asia’s strongest national leagues receive automatic berths, with clubs from lower-ranked nations eligible to qualify via the qualifying playoffs, and they are also eligible to participate in the AFC Cup. Since 2009, the champions do not qualify automatically for the following year’s competition. The winner of the AFC Champions League qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup.
The most successful club in the competition is the Pohang Steelers with a total of three titles. The reigning champions of the competition are the Kashima Antlers, who won the competition for the first time.