Auckland City will learn their next opponents in their campaign to reach another FIFA Club World Cup when the OFC Champions League draw is made next Thursday (March 23).
The draw will split the eight OFC Champions League teams into two pools, and the eventual winner of the tournament wins a berth at December’s Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia.
The draw will take place at 1pm (NZT) at the OFC Home of Football — Te Kahu o Kiwa in Auckland, New Zealand.
OFC Competitions Director Chris Kemp will conduct proceedings.
The OFC Champions League will take place in Vanuatu from May 14-27, 2023.
The eight teams to qualify are:
- Suva FC (runners-up 2022 Fiji National League)
- AS Tiga Sport (2022 New Caledonia Super Ligue champions)
- Hekari United (runners-up 2022 Papua New Guinea National League)
- Lupe Ole Soaga (third place Samoa National League)
- Solomon Warriors (2022-23 Solomon Islands S-League champions)
- AS Pirae (2021-22 Tahiti Ligue 1 champions)
- Ifira Black Bird (2022 Vanuatu VFF National Super League champions)
- Auckland City (2022 National League champions)
The OFC Champions League tournament will split the eight teams into two groups of four.
After each group has completed a round-robin, the two top teams from each go into semi-finals, to produce the finalists.
The winner of the eight-team tournament will qualify to represent OFC at the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia (December 12-22).
FIFA Club World Cup
Seven clubs will compete at the Club World Cup — a Saudi team to represent the host nation, and the representatives from six football confederations, UEFA (Europe), CONMEBOL (South America), CONCACAF (North & Central America), CAF (Africa), AFC (Asia) and Oceania.
Japanese club Urawa Red Diamonds, from the J-League, are assured of a place at the tournament after qualifying for the two-legged final of the AFC Champions League (against Al Hilal on April 29 and May 6).
Win or lose, Red Diamonds will take their place at the December tournament.
If they are beaten by Al Hilal, the Saudi team will secure a spot. If Al Hilal fail, their place will be taken by the Saudi Professional League champion club. The current favourites are Al-Nassr whose star player is Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Oceania Football Confederation plans to launch a professional men’s league in 2025, a competition that will replace the current OFC Champions League.