AFC Champions League games in the east group have been postponed to June, July 2021.© AFC/Twitter
Half of the group stage matches in the Asian Football Confederation’s Champions League were Thursday postponed until June and July because of the coronavirus pandemic. Matches for 40 clubs spread across 10 groups in the continent’s top club competition had been due to start in east and west zones in April in centralised venues. But the five east zone groups, including teams from regional football powers South Korea, China, Japan and Australia, will have their matches delayed until June and July, the AFC said.
The AFC cited “travel restrictions and quarantine challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic” for the delay.
Dates have not yet been finalised, but Thailand has been selected as host for three groups while the venue for the two others remains to be decided.
East zone playoffs due next month to decide the final group stage qualifiers have also been postponed and will also take place in the centralised venues on dates to be announced in June or July.
West zone matches will go ahead as planned from April 14 to 30.
Saudi Arabia will host three groups, two in Riyadh and one in Jeddah, Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates will host another and India, who make their debut in the competition this year with Goa FC, will host the fifth group.
There are strict requirements for countries wishing to host matches, including that players and officials undergo Covid-19 tests and that medical facilities are up to standard.
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