Iranian clubs to host rivals at 2020 ACL inside Iran

TEHRAN, Jan. 23 (MNA) – According to the latest agreement concluded between Iranian negotiators and the AFC, Iranian clubs can host their rivals in the 2020 AFC Asian Champions League inside the country.

The AFC had earlier announced that Iranian clubs participating in 2020 ACL should host their rivals in a neutral venue, citing security concerns in Iran for the decision. The measure sparked harsh criticism inside the country from fans and officials who believed the decision to be affected by political motivations. Iranian clubs had announced that they would not participate in the tournament in case they cannot host opponents in Iran.

Accordingly, heads of the Iranian clubs departed for Malaysia to hold talks with AFC officials, including AFC General Secretary Dato' Windsor John, on the issue.

According to the latest reports, the AFC has guaranteed that the clubs can host matches inside Iran’s territory during the group stage. However, the teams should play away matches in the first three matchdays before hosting rivals in the three remaining weeks. Also, the Preliminary Stage matches will be held in neutral venues as announced before.

So Esteghlal and Shahr Khodro have to make a trip to the United Arab Emirates to take on Kuwait SC and Bahrain’s Riffa on January 25 respectively in the Preliminary Stage 2. Persepolis and Sepahan have already secured their place in the group stage.

During the meeting with Iranian representatives, the AFC highlighted that Iran National Football Team will have no problem hosting opponents in the 2022 World Cup qualifications.

MAH/4833220

News Code 154868

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