The AFC stated in a statement on its official website, that Al Hilal violated Article 3-4 of the AFC Championships regulations, and thus was considered withdrawing from the tournament.The federation explained that the article states that if the participating team or club has fewer than 13 players (including one goalkeeper) to play the match, for any reason (whether related to Corona virus or not), then the team or club The participant is not able to compete in the match, and this team or club will be responsible for the failure to hold the match, and therefore he is considered withdrawn from the tournament. The participating team or club and its national association are subject to the procedures in the tournament instructions, as stipulated.
In its statement, the federation added: “All matches fought by Al Hilal Club (which presented a list of 11 players for the match) were considered null and not counted, according to Article 6 of the AFC Champions League instructions, and consequently, Bakhtakor and Shabab Al-Ahly Dubai qualified for the round of 16.” .
Al-Ittihad added that the instructions of the tournament allow 35 players to be registered in the list of each club, but Al-Hilal scored only 30 players, 27 of them traveled to Doha, indicating that he supported the technical staff of the Saudi club, which was affected by the presence of Corona cases inside it by allowing the addition of another goalkeeper after His bodyguard was infected with the virus.
He continued that, throughout the tournament, he worked to communicate with the club and the Saudi Football Association, and dealt in a timely manner with all their inquiries and concerns.
He added: “Despite the efforts of the Asian Football Confederation, Al Hilal Club and the Saudi Football Association requested that the match be postponed in front of Al-Ahly Youth in Dubai, based on Article 3-4 of the special instructions for AFC competitions in light of the Corona pandemic.”
The instructions add: “In exceptional circumstances, and in the event that the tournament schedule approved by the AFC General Secretariat is not affected, the AFC Competitions Committee (or any sub-committee entrusted with these responsibilities) can make an exception and allow the match schedule to be returned. Concerned “.
The AFC said in its statement: “But the sub-committee for the AFC Champions League in the West region decided that the postponement will have a significant negative impact on the current program of the AFC Champions League matches for the West, and decided not to grant an exception.”
Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia was crowned the AFC Champions League title last year, after beating Japanese Urua Reds 3/0 in the aggregate of the first and second matches.