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Qatar to host East Zone matches of AFC Champions League

Doha, Qatar: After successfully hosting the West Zone AFC Champions League matches Qatar will once again play hosts to the cream of Asian football when it hosts the leading sides from East Zone as they battle it out for a place in the AFC Champions League final.

Sixteen leading sides from the east of the continent, from six countries, will take part in the tournament from 18 November to 13 December, with matches taking places in four stadiums, according to a press note issued by Qatar Football Association (QFA).

The teams will be battling it out for a place in the AFC Champions League final, set to take place on 19 December 2020. Persepolis FC overcame Al Nassr on penalties in the semi-final to advance to the showpiece event for the second time in three years.

Four clubs from both China and the Korea Republic will compete in the competition, along with three from Australia, three from Japan and one each from Malaysia and Thailand.

In Group E,  Beijing FC (Chn), Chiangrai United (Tha), Melbourne Victory (Aus) andFC Seoul (Kor) will be seen in action.

In Group F comprises of Ulsan Hyundai FC (Kor), Shanghai Shenhua FC (Chn), Perth Glory (Aus)and  FC Tokyo (Jpn)

Group G consists of Vissel Kobe (Jpn), Suwon Samsung Bluewings (Kor),  Guangzhou Evergrande Fc (Chn) and Johor Darul Ta’zim (Mas)

Group H wil have Sydney Fc (Aus), Yokohama F. Marinos (Jpn), Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC (Kor) and Shanghai Sipg FC (Chn)

Qatar has been asked to host the matches after QFA reached an with Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Friday.

The FIFA 2022 World Cup hosts had successfully hosted the AFC Champions League West Zone tournament from 14 September to 3 October.

During the West Zone Qatar provided a bio-safe environment for teams to complete their matches – which were curtailed in March by the COVID-19 outbreak.

AFC has now again turned to Qatar to host the East Zone matches and Qatar agreed to host the matches in order to support Asia’s premier club competition and ensure it could be completed as close to the original schedule as possible.

The teams and officials who travel to Qatar for the tournament will adhere to a strict health and safety framework to ensure the safe participation of players, officials and members of the Local Organising Committee. During the West Zone tournament, Qatar carried out more than 7,900 COVID-19 tests in an effort to detect cases as early as possible, with the positive rate being only 1.7%.

Dato’ Windsor John, the AFC General Secretary, said: “We are extremely grateful for the outstanding support of the QFA and are pleased that 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.

“We recognise the huge amount of work undertaken by the QFA, in conjunction with the AFC, the Qatar Local Authorities and Ministries, to ensure the smooth delivery of the AFC Champions League (West) and we look forward to a similarly positive collaboration for the AFC Champions League (East).”

“Everything from the arrival of the teams, the efficient immigration process, the rigorous health screenings, hotels with biosecurity measures, to the state-of-the-art training facilities and stadiums were of the highest possible standard as the AFC insisted that the welfare and well-being of the players, officials and match officials was our top priority.

“Through the planning and delivery of these extremely strict and effective protocols, I am delighted that we will be able to successfully complete the AFC Champions League, despite the enormous challenges in this unprecedented year, as we promised all our stakeholders.”

The AFC Champions League (East) will resume from the Group Stage and continue through the Round of 16 to the Quarter-finals and Semi-finals. The venue for the Final, which is scheduled to be played on December 19, 2020, will be confirmed in due course.

Mansoor Al Ansari, General Secretary, Qatar Football Association, said: “We are very happy to provide a safe environment for the AFC in order to complete the AFC Champions League and look forward to hosting the leading clubs from the east of the region during November and December. Qatar knows how important football is to Asia so is pleased to be able to offer the world-class sporting infrastructure and operational health and safety expertise that exists in the country to allow for the resumption of competitive continental football once again.”

All team members and visitors will be tested upon arrival and throughout the tournament, while all venues will be disinfected regularly, including training and media facilities. Medical staff will be stationed in stadiums throughout the competition to ensure all health and safety are strictly followed.

AFC Champions League East Zone groups

Group E

  •  Beijing FC (Chn)
  • Chiangrai United (Tha)
  • Melbourne Victory (Aus)
  • FC Seoul (Kor)

Group F

  • Ulsan Hyundai FC (Kor)
  • Shanghai Shenhua FC (Chn)
  • Perth Glory (Aus)
  • Fc Tokyo (Jpn)

Group G

  • Vissel Kobe (Jpn)
  • Suwon Samsung Bluewings (Kor)
  • Guangzhou Evergrande Fc (Chn)
  • Johor Darul Ta’zim (Mas)

Group H

  • Sydney Fc (Aus)
  • Yokohama F. Marinos (Jpn)
  • Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC (Kor)
  • Shanghai Sipg FC (Chn)

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