Qatar steps in to host AFC Champions League East Zone tournament
AFC asks FIFA World Cup™ hosts to provide bio-safe environment in order to complete Asia’s premier club competition
Qatar will again play host to the cream of Asian football when it hosts the leading sides from the east of the continent as they battle it out for a place in the AFC Champions League final, set to take place on 19 December 2020.
After successfully hosting the AFC Champions League West Zone tournament from 14 September to 3 October, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) asked Qatar to again provide a bio-safe environment for teams from the East Zone in order to complete their matches – which were curtailed in March by the COVID-19 outbreak.
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.
Sixteen teams from six countries will take part in the East Zone tournament from 18 November to 13 December, with matches taking places in four stadiums.
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%.
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.”
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.
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.