The AFC has announced today the transfer of two matches for the independence teams and the Iranian Khodro month in the preliminary round of the Champions League, to a neutral ground in the Emirates “due to security concerns in Iran.”
“The two matches of the Iranian month of Khodro with Bahraini Riffa and Iranian independence with Kuwaiti Kuwait, scheduled for January 21, 2020, have been transferred to neutral territory due to the ongoing security concerns and the decision of several governments to issue warnings to travel to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the union’s statement said.
“To assist the move to neutral ground, which is approved by the relevant AFC committees, the AFC will reschedule the two games until January 25, 2020 in the United Arab Emirates.”
Iran announced its refusal to transfer matches to its clubs, considering that the country is safe to host the continental championship, in the wake of a series of recent events, most notably the shooting down of a Ukrainian civilian plane.
The local federation of the game announced last week that the continental federation asked its clubs to play their matches outside their homeland without specifying the reasons officially, in a move that the Iranian side met by waving to withdraw from the AFC Champions League.
The Iranian sports authorities have warned that the relevant clubs, Persepolis and Sepahan (who participate directly in the group stage of the AFC Champions League), and the independence of Tehran and the month of Khodro (participate as of the second preliminary round), intend to withdraw from the competition if the decision becomes effective.