The AFC Champions League, also known as Asian Champions League is the premier annual club football tournament, held in Asia. Since its inception, the Championship has made incredible progress. Today, this Championship has established itself alongside UEFA Champions League, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, CAF and OFC. Organized by the Asian Football Federation, a total of forty-five teams participate in the tournament, and amongst them, thirty-two make it to the group stage. AFC introduced the Asian Cup Winners’ Cup and Asian Super Cup in the year 1991 and 1995, respectively. The Asian Cup Winners’ Cup was played among the winners of the domestic leagues of the countries affiliated to the AFC, while the latter was played between the winners of Asian Club Championship and Asian Cup Winners’ Cup. Japanese club Yokohama F Marinos and Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal are the most successful teams in the Asian Cup Winners’ Cup. They both have won the tournament twice. Al-Hilal and Suwon Samsung Bluewings are the most successful teams in the Asian Super Cup, winning the tournament twice. In the year 2002, both these competitions were combined and named as the AFC Champions League. The winner of the AFC Champions League automatically qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup.
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