Coronavirus: AFC dismisses Al-Hilal’s appeal over Champions League withdrawal

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The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Saturday dismissed a protest lodged by Al-Hilal against their withdrawal from the Asian Champions League because they were able to name only 11 players for their final Group B fixture.

The Saudi club, who had already qualified for the last 16, said they had been determined to defend their title despite 30 players and staff becoming infected with COVID-19 in the Qatar hub where Asia’s premier club competition resumed last week.

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But AFC rules state teams must name a minimum of 13 players in their matchday squads and Wednesday’s game did not go ahead. The AFC ruled that Al-Hilal were “deemed to have withdrawn from the competition”.

Al-Hilal’s departure means Shabab Al Ahli Dubai progressed to the knockout stage from Group B along with Uzbeki club Pakhtakor.

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