The Asian had agreed to host Al-Ahly of Saudi Arabia for its group in the AFC Champions League
The AFC did not show any complacency in its response to statements by Iranian officials about their refusal to allow Iranian clubs to play AFC Champions League matches in Saudi Arabia.
The Continental Confederation had granted the three Saudi clubs, Al-Hilal, Al-Ahly and Al-Nasr, the right to host their group matches in the Champions League, which will be played from 7 to 30 April.
The third group, to be hosted by Al-Ahly in Jeddah, includes the Qatari Al-Duhail, Iraqi Police and Iranian Independence clubs.
A number of Iranian officials spoke of their refusal to play Iranian clubs in Saudi Arabia, calling on the AFC to choose neutral stadiums for the Saudi-Iranian confrontations, as happened in recent years.
Abdul Khaleq Masoud, vice chairman of the AFC Competitions Committee, responded sternly to those statements by stressing that they were never acceptable.
He added to the Saudi Sports newspaper, “The Saudi teams’ hosting of their matches came after applying the criteria and conditions approved by the AFC, and their files were the best among the clubs applying for hosting.”
He continued, “The Iranians’ refusal to confront Saudi clubs on their stadiums is unacceptable unless accompanied by clear justifications. We will write a detailed report to the Executive Office of the AFC to decide the matter whenever the Iranians insist not to play in Saudi Arabia.”
It is reported that the AFC had decided to play the group stage of the AFC Champions League this season in the combined tournament system due to the measures followed globally to confront the Corona pandemic.