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.
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 The AFC ruled that Al-Hilal were “deemed to have withdrawn from the competition”.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.