Last calendar-year CAF club season

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Johannesburg - The 2018 CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup competitions, which begin this weekend, will be the last staged between February and December.

From next year, they are scheduled to kick off in September and end the following May, bringing the dates in line with many African domestic seasons.

Countries with a September/May season include Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia, whose clubs are among the strongest in the continent.

Between the February/December 2018 and September 2019/May 2020 seasons there will be a one-off December/May edition covering 2019.

The leading club competition - the African Cup of Champions Clubs until renamed the CAF Champions League in 1997 - has been played annually for 53 years.

CAF ditched the African Cup Winners Cup and CAF Cup competitions after the 2003 finals and introduced the second-tier Confederation Cup, the African equivalent of the Europa League.

National league winners, and runners-up from the top 12 ranked nations based on results over five years, qualify for the Champions League.

Confederation Cup elimination rounds are confined to third and fourth-place league finishers and national cup winners, with rare exceptions.

A play-off round follows with the 16 Confederation Cup survivors facing Champions League last-32 losers for group places.

Champions League winners pocket $2.5 million and Confederation Cup title-holders receive $1.25 million.

DATES:

CAF Champions League

Preliminary round: Feb 9-11 and 20-21

first round: Mar 6-7 and 16-18

Group stage: May 4-6 and 15-16, July 17-18 and 27-29, Aug 17-19 and 28-29

Quarter-finals: Sept 14-16 and 21-23

Semi-finals: Oct 2-3 and 23-24

Final: Nov 2-4 and 9-11

CAF Confederation Cup

Preliminary round: Feb 9-11 and 20-21

First round: Mar 6-7 and 16-18

Play-offs: Apr 6-8 and 17-18

Group stage: May 4-6 and 15-16, July 17-18 and 27-29, Aug 17-19 and 28-29

Quarter-finals: Sept 14-16 and 21-23

Semi-finals: Oct 2-3 and 23-24

Final: Nov 23-25 and 30-Dec 2

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