Al AIn
Al Ain won the competition for a second time last month Image Credit: X

Al Ain FC and Al Wasl FC could pocket a minimum of $12 million if they are to win the new Asian Champions League Elite next season.

The competition, which kicks off with a preliminary round in August, is at the heart of a major revamp of club football across the continent and involves 27 clubs from 12 nations including Japan, South Korea, Australia and Saudi Arabia.

The first prize is a three-fold increase from the sum won by Al Ain in May in the final edition of the Asian Champions League under its previous format.

That was the second triumph in Asia’s premier club competition for ‘Al Zaeem’, who beat Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr and ended Al Hilal’s record-breaking run of 34 consecutive wins en route to victory.

Five clubs will feature in the preliminaries of the Asian Champions League Elite from Aug. 6 to 13, with two teams joining the 22 clubs to have directly qualified for the league stage.

The UAE could have a third representative in the competition if Shabab Al-Ahli beat an as-yet unknown Iranian qualifier before taking on Qatar's Al-Gharafa for a spot in the revamped tournament.

In the east, China's Shandong Taishan will face off against Bangkok United from Thailand.

The draw for the league phase, where clubs will be divided into western and eastern zones, will take place on Aug. 16, with fixture running from Sept. 16 to Feb. 19.

The top eight teams from each of the two sides of the confederation will progress to the last 16, which will be played on a home-and-away basis with the winners advancing to a finals series due to played in a centralised hub.

Saudi Arabia will host those matches as single-legged quarter-finals, semi-finals and final from April 25 to May 4.

The confederation also announced that winners of the Asian Champions League Two, the continent's second tier club competition featuring 36 teams, will collect a minimum of $3.28 million.