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Asian Women’s Champions League to launch in August, biggest payout for women’s club football in continent

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The inaugural Asian Women’s Champions League will kick off in August with 22 teams competing for the top prize of $1.3 million, the biggest payout for women’s club football on the continent, the Asian Football Confederation said on Friday.

One club each from 22 countries across the continent will play in the new competition, including reigning Asian Women’s Club Championship winner Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies from Japan.

Urawa qualifies automatically for the group phase as a representative of one of the eight highest-ranked member associations alongside teams from North Korea, Australia, China, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan.

The remaining 14 clubs will play in a preliminary round that sees teams divided into four groups held in a centralised format from August 25-31 with matches to be played in Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

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The four group winners will join the other eight teams in the next phase, where three groups of four will face off in hubs in China, Vietnam and an as yet undecided third venue from October 6-12.

The top two finishers plus the two best runners-up advance to the quarterfinals, which will be played in March, while the semifinals and final are due to be held on May 21 and May 24.

Clubs participating in the group phase will receive a minimum of $100,000 with prize money increasing according to finishing position.

The champions will net a minimum of $1.3 million, more than what is on offer to the women’s league champions in Japan, Australia, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

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