The Pro League Cup celebrates the end of its 14th edition with Al Ain who claimed the first Pro League Cup title, clashing against the five-time Pro League Cup champions Shabab Al Ahli, the reigning champions.
The first edition of the Pro League Cup kicked off in the 2008-09 season. Since the beginning of the current edition, 46 matches have been played with the final completing the 47-match adventure.
The number of Pro League Cup matches varied in the last seasons, according to the amendments of the competition format.
The 2008-09, and 2009-10 editions saw 41 matches, compared to 63 encounters in the 2010-11, and 2011-12 seasons.
The number of matches declined to 55 in the 2012-13 season. The competition settled on 45 matches starting from the 2013-14 season, until 2016-17.
The matches were reduced once again to 43 in the 2017-18 season, compared to 49 matches in the 2018-2019 and 2019-20 seasons, while 47 games have been played during the ongoing 2021-22 season.
12 teams participated in the preliminary round except for the Pro League Cup defending champions Shabab Al Ahli and reigning league champions Al Jazira, who automatically qualified for the quarter-finals.
As per the regulations laid out for the competition, all 12 teams play two-legged fixtures with six sides set to proceed to the knock-out stages along with the league title holders and defending champions.
Teams that failed to advance to the quarterfinals, will play each other in a league to determine places from 9th to 14th.
Teams failing to qualify for the semifinals play each other to fill in rankings from 5th to 8th, whereas losing semi-finalists will play each other to determine who finishes third.
Pro League Cup Fixtures are as follows:
12 fixtures in the two-legged preliminary round
15 matches to determine places from 9th to 14th.
8 matches in the two-legged quarter-finals
6 matches to decide places from 5th to 8th.
4 matches in the two-legged semi-finals
A match in the third-place play-off
A match in the final
The Competition path
12 teams from the preliminary round
2 teams automatically qualifiy for the quarter-finals.
6 teams advance to the quarter-finals
4 teams qualify for the semi-finals
2 teams play a one-legged final