The highly anticipated direct ticket to next season’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League Elite (KCLE) will be awarded to the winner of this year’s professional K League 1 and Korea Football Association (FA) Cup.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced on Tuesday the eligibility of domestic professional teams to participate in the AFC-organized club competition for the 2024-2025 season.
Heading to the ACLE for the 2024-2025 season are this year’s K League 1 champions Ulsan Hyundai and FA Cup winners Pohang Steelers. Starting next season, the AFC will split the ACL into the top-tier ACLE and the second-tier ACL2. This is in line with the way UEFA divides its club competitions into the Champions League (UCL), Europa League (UEL), and Europa Conference.
The AFC has allocated Korea 2+1 berths in the ACLE and 1 berth in the ACL2, but there have been conflicting interpretations from associations and federations on which team gets the two direct berths to the top-tier competition. While the association argued that the tickets should be given to the champion in addition to the K League 1 winner, citing FA Cup authority, the federation argued that they should be given to the first and second place teams in the league based on the value of a season. 토토사이트
In the end, it was decided that the federation’s view would be prioritized and further discussions would be held for the 2025-2026 season.
This season, the second-place teams in the K League 1 will compete in the playoffs instead of the ACLE. However, if FA Cup winner Pohang (60-2) finishes second in the final standings, the third-placed team will qualify for the playoffs. Currently, third place is Gwangju FC (57 points). Excluding the ACLE and the three teams in the playoffs, the top-ranked teams in K League 1 will compete in the ACL2.