AFC Cup
AFC Cup logo.svg
Founded2004; 18 years ago (2004)
RegionAsia (AFC)
Number of teams36-48 (group stage)
59 (total)
Qualifier forAFC Champions League
Related competitionsAFC Champions League
Current championsBahrain Al-Muharraq
(2nd title)
Most successful club(s)Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Kuwait Al-Kuwait
(3 titles each)
WebsiteOfficial website
2022 AFC Cup

The AFC Cup is an annual continental club football competition organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Under its current rules, the competition is played primarily between clubs from nations that did not receive direct qualifying slots in the top-tier AFC Champions League, based on the AFC Club Competitions Ranking.

Al-Kuwait SC and Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya are the most successful club in the competition's history, having won three titles each. Clubs from Kuwait have won four titles, making them the most successful nation in the competition. Ever since the inauguration of the competition in 2004, the finalists of each edition have been dominated by clubs from West Asia except for 2011 and 2015 when Uzbekistani team FC Nasaf from Central Asia and Malaysian team Johor Darul Ta'zim from Southeast Asia became champions that respective year. Al-Muharraq are the current champions after defeating FC Nasaf in the 2021 final. Since 2021 season the team who become AFC Cup champions are granted to participate in the AFC Champions League qualifying playoffs should they not qualify through domestic performance.

History

The AFC Cup began in 2004 as a second-tier competition to relate back to the AFC Champions League as 14 countries that had developing status competed in the first competition with 18 teams being nominated. Group A, B, C had West and Central Asian teams while the other two groups had east and South East Asia. The winners and three runners-up would then head to the knock-out stage where it was a random draw in who was going to play. Al-Jaish took the first AFC Cup after they defeated fellow Syrian opponents Al-Wahda on away goals.

In 2005, 18 teams competed from nine nations with the nations still being allowed to choose from one or two teams entering. After Syrian teams left the AFC Cup to try at the Champions League for four years, Al-Faisaly defeated Nejmeh in the final. With it, Jordanian teams would win the next two AFC Cup seasons with Bahrain joining the league while Bangladesh was relegated to the AFC President's Cup until the tournament's abolition in 2014.

Al-Muharraq would break the trend in 2008 as they competed in the last two-legged final before it headed back into a one-leg system which still runs to this day.

Format

Some changes were applied in terms of teams and format for the 2017 AFC Cup. A total of 36 teams participate in the group stage (12 each from West Asia and ASEAN, and 4 each from East Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia). The final will be played as a one-off match.

Allocation

Teams from 27 AFC countries have reached the group stage of the AFC Cup. The allocation of those teams by member country is listed below; asterisks represent occasions where at least one team was eliminated in qualification for the group stage. 34 AFC countries have had teams participate in qualification (including Brunei and Timor-Leste who will make their debuts in 2020), those who have not reached the group stage but have only played in qualification are not bolded.

Associations Spots
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
East
China China 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 1 1 1* 1
Guam Guam 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 0 0 0 0
Hong Kong Hong Kong 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 0 0 2 1 2
Japan Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Macau Macau 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 0 1 0 1 0
Mongolia Mongolia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 1 0* 0* 0* 1
North Korea North Korea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 1* 0 0
South Korea South Korea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 4 4 4 4
ASEAN
Australia Australia Part of OFC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Brunei Brunei 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 0*
Cambodia Cambodia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1* 1 1 1 1
Indonesia Indonesia 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 2 1 2 2 2 0 0 2 2 2 2
Laos Laos 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0* 0* 1 1* 2
Malaysia Malaysia 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 0 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 0 0 0
Myanmar Myanmar 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 0
Philippines Philippines 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1* 2 2 2 2 2 2
Singapore Singapore 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Thailand Thailand 0 0 1 0 2 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
East Timor Timor-Leste 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 0*
Vietnam Vietnam 0 0 0 1 0 2 2 2 2 2 2 0 0 2 2 2 2 2
Total 4 4 4 6 4 8 8 7 10 10 10 10 9 11 12 12 12 11
South
Bangladesh Bangladesh 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 1 1* 1* 1 1* 1*
Bhutan Bhutan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 0* 0* 0* 0* 0*
India India 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1* 2*
Maldives Maldives 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1* 2 2 2 2 1* 1* 0 2 1*
Nepal Nepal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 0 0* 0 1 0 0*
Pakistan Pakistan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 0 0 0 0 0
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 0 0* 0* 0*
Total 5 6 6 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 5 4 4 4 4 4
Central
Afghanistan Afghanistan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 0 0 0 0
Iran Iran 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0* 0* 2 1* 1* 2 2
Tajikistan Tajikistan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 1* 1* 1* 1* 2 2 2
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan 2 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1* 1* 1* 2 1* 2 2
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
Total 2 2 2 2 0 1 1 2 1 2 2 2 2 4 4 4 7 7
West
Bahrain Bahrain 0 0 1 1 2 2 1 0 0 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Iraq Iraq 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 0 0 0
Jordan Jordan 0 2 2 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Kuwait Kuwait 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 3 3 2 2 2 0 0 0 2 2 2
Lebanon Lebanon 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Oman Oman 1 0 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1* 2 2 2 1* 1* 0
State of Palestine Palestine 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0* 1* 2 0* 0* 1 1 2
Qatar Qatar 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Syria Syria 2 0 0 0 0 2 3 3 2 1* 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Yemen Yemen 1 0 0 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 0* 0* 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 6 4 6 10 10 17 16 17 16 14 14 14 14 12 12 12 12 12
Total
Finals 18 18 20 24 20 32 31 32 32 32 32 32 32 34 36 36 39 36/37/38
Qualifying 18 18 20 24 20 32 31 32 33 33 34 41 40 50 44 43 48 45

Prize money

This section needs to be updated. The reason given is: Prize money details for past competitions are missing. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (May 2021)

The prize money for the 2021 AFC Cup:[1]

Phase Purse (USD) Travel subsidy
(per match)
Preliminary stage N/A $30,000
Play-offs N/A $30,000
Group stage N/A $30,000
Knockout stage Zonal champions: $100,000 $40,000
Final Champions: $1.5 million
Runners-up: $750,000
$40,000

Marketing

Sponsorship

Like the AFC Champions League, the AFC Cup is sponsored by a group of multinational corporations, in contrast to the single main sponsor typically found in national top-flight leagues.

The tournament's current main sponsors are:

Results and statistics

Finals

List of AFC Cup finals
Year Nation Home team Score Away team Nation Venue Attendance
2004  Syria Al-Wahda 2–3 Al-Jaish  Syria Syria Abbasiyyin Stadium, Damascus
 Syria Al-Jaish 0–1 Al-Wahda  Syria Syria Abbasiyyin Stadium, Damascus
Aggregate 3–3, Al-Jaish won on away goals
2005  Jordan Al-Faisaly 1–0 Nejmeh  Lebanon Jordan Amman International Stadium, Amman
 Lebanon Nejmeh 2–3 Al-Faisaly  Jordan Lebanon Rafic El-Hariri Stadium, Beirut
Al-Faisaly won 4–2 on aggregate
2006  Jordan Al-Faisaly 3–0 Al-Muharraq  Bahrain Jordan Amman International Stadium, Amman 7,000
 Bahrain Al-Muharraq 4–2 Al-Faisaly  Jordan Bahrain Bahrain National Stadium, Riffa 3,000
Al-Faisaly won 5–4 on aggregate
2007  Jordan Al-Faisaly 0–1 Shabab Al-Ordon  Jordan Jordan Amman International Stadium, Amman 5,500
 Jordan Shabab Al-Ordon 1–1 Al-Faisaly  Jordan Jordan Amman International Stadium, Amman 7,500
Shabab Al-Ordon won 2–1 on aggregate
2008  Bahrain Al-Muharraq 5–1 Safa  Lebanon Bahrain Bahrain National Stadium, Riffa 6,000
 Lebanon Safa 4–5 Al-Muharraq  Bahrain Lebanon Sports City Stadium, Beirut 2,000
Al-Muharraq won 10–5 on aggregate
Year Nation Winners Score Runners-up Nation Venue Attendance
2009  Kuwait Al-Kuwait 2–1 Al-Karamah  Syria Kuwait Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium, Kuwait City 17,400
2010  Syria Al-Ittihad 1–1 (a.e.t.)
(4–2 p)
Al-Qadsia  Kuwait Kuwait Jaber International Stadium, Kuwait City 58,604
2011  Uzbekistan FC Nasaf 2–1 Al-Kuwait  Kuwait Uzbekistan Markaziy Stadium, Qarshi 15,753
2012  Kuwait Al-Kuwait 4–0 Erbil  Iraq Iraq Franso Hariri Stadium, Erbil 30,000
2013  Kuwait Al-Kuwait 2–0 Al-Qadsia  Kuwait Kuwait Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium, Kuwait City 10,000
2014  Kuwait Al-Qadsia 0–0 (a.e.t.)
(4–2 p)
Erbil  Iraq United Arab Emirates Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai 5,240
2015  Malaysia Johor Darul Ta'zim 1–0 Istiklol  Tajikistan Tajikistan Pamir Stadium, Dushanbe 18,000
2016  Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 1–0 Bengaluru  India Qatar Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha 5,806
2017  Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 1–0 Istiklol  Tajikistan Tajikistan Hisor Central Stadium, Hisor 20,000
2018  Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 2–0 Altyn Asyr  Turkmenistan Iraq Basra International Stadium, Basra 24,665
2019  Lebanon Al-Ahed 1–0 April 25  North Korea Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Stadium, Kuala Lumpur 500
2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic in Asia.[3]
2021  Bahrain Al-Muharraq 3–0 FC Nasaf  Uzbekistan Bahrain Al-Muharraq Stadium, Arad 9,060
2022

Performance by clubs

Club
Winners Runners-up Years won Years runners-up
Kuwait Al-Kuwait 3 1 2009, 2012, 2013 2011
Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 3 0 2016, 2017, 2018
Jordan Al-Faisaly 2 1 2005, 2006 2007
Bahrain Al-Muharraq 2 1 2008, 2021 2006
Kuwait Al-Qadsia 1 2 2014 2010, 2013
Uzbekistan Nasaf Qarshi 1 1 2011 2021
Syria Al-Jaish 1 0 2004
Jordan Shabab Al-Ordon 1 0 2007
Syria Al-Ittihad 1 0 2010
Malaysia Johor Darul Ta'zim 1 0 2015
Lebanon Al-Ahed 1 0 2019
Iraq Erbil 0 2 2012, 2014
Tajikistan Istiklol 0 2 2015, 2017
Syria Al-Wahda 0 1 2004
Lebanon Nejmeh 0 1 2005
Lebanon Safa 0 1 2008
Syria Al-Karamah 0 1 2009
India Bengaluru 0 1 2016
Turkmenistan Altyn Asyr 0 1 2018
North Korea April 25 0 1 2019

Performance by nations

Nation Titles Runners-up Total
 Kuwait 4 3 7
 Iraq 3 2 5
 Jordan 3 1 4
 Syria 2 2 4
 Bahrain 2 1 3
 Lebanon 1 2 3
 Uzbekistan 1 1 2
 Malaysia 1 0 1
 Tajikistan 0 2 2
 India 0 1 1
 Turkmenistan 0 1 1
 North Korea 0 1 1