Venues for AFC Champions League 2021 Group Stage revealed
KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed the venues for the AFC Champions League 2021 Group Stage after an extensive feedback exercise with its Participating Member Associations, commercial partners and all relevant stakeholders.
The West Region matches, which are scheduled to take place between April 14-30, will see Saudi Arabia host Groups A and D in Riyadh as well as Group C in Jeddah, with the matches in Group B to be staged in the United Arab Emirates city of Sharjah, while India, whose representative FC Goa are poised to mark the nation’s debut in Asia’s premier club competition, will host Group E.
In the East Region, the AFC has decided to postpone the Group Stage matches originally planned for April 21 – May 7 to June/July 2021, taking into consideration the existing travel restrictions and quarantine challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Thailand will provide the backdrop for the matches in the East Region Groups F, G and J, with the venues for Groups H and I as well as the exact dates for all Groups to be decided and communicated in due course. The Preliminary and Playoff matches of the AFC Champions League 2021 (East) are also postponed and will be played in centralised venues of their respective Group Stage matches.
Regarding the first group that will be held in Riyadh hosted by the Al Hilal team, Qatar’s Al Gharafa team will be present if it succeeds in overcoming the hurdle of the Uzbek team in the group stage qualifier (to be held in Doha on Wednesday 7 April).
The Group C matches – to be held in Jeddah – will include Qatar’s Al Duhail, Iraq’s Police and Estaghlal of Iran.
Group D matches, which will be held in Riyadh, will include Qatar’s Al Sadd and Al Wehdat, and the winner of the Foulad of Iranand Al Ain of the UAE which will be held on April 7 as well.
Group E matches will be hosted by FC Goa with Qatar’s Al Rayyan, Iran’s Persepolis, and the winner of the UAE and Al Wahda meeting.