Football: AFC moves all East Asia Champions League games from Malaysia to Qatar

Asian Football Confederation general secretary Windsor John at the 2020 AFC Champions League football tournament official draw on Dec 10, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Friday (Oct 9) said it has moved all remaining Asian Champions League games for East zone sides to Qatar from Malaysia.

The games, including remaining group matches, will now take place from Nov 18 to Dec 13 in Doha, which earlier this week saw the conclusion of West zone matches where Iran's Persepolis advanced to the Dec 19 final at an as-yet-undecided venue.

East zone sides hail from China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Australia and Thailand.

"We are extremely grateful for the outstanding support of the QFA (Qatar Football Association)," AFC secretary general Dato Windsor John said in a statement, which did not detail reasons for the change in venue.

"We can now build on the success of the AFC Champions League (West) while looking forward to the remaining exciting matches in Asia's premier club competition."

The Asian Champions League was suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. West zone games were moved to Qatar where they resumed last month.

Despite stringent bio-security measures, several teams were affected by the novel coronavirus, with last year's winners Al Hilal axed from the competition after they reached the knockout phase with a game to spare.

The Saudi side had 30 players and staff infected by Covid-19 and so were unable to field the minimum number of players required for their final group match.

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