October 16 – Doha will stage the final of the Asian Champions League on December 19, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed on Friday.
The Qatari capital was picked to host the competition’s showpiece match after the city had already successfully hosted matches of the Champions League’s west zone. Qatar is also preparing to host the east zone group and knockout rounds starting in November.
In a statement, AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly made the decision on the venue for this year’s Final more complex particularly in these uncertain times of travel and health restrictions.
“In addition to the numerous restrictions, the AFC also wanted to protect the important principle of sporting fair play. This will be, unlike previous years, a one-off final and we therefore needed to ensure that there was no unfair advantage to one team or the other.”
In October, the Qatari’s successfully completed the hosting of the west zone half of the ACL draw, with Iranian giants Persepolis qualifying for the final. In the AFC’s hour of need, Qatar also stepped up and committed to hosting the four uncompleted AFC Champions League east zone groups and knockout rounds, starting on November 18.
The four ACL East Zone groups will see 16 teams gather in Qatar. The coronavirus shutdown in March in east Asia means that no team has played more than two games in the group stages. Chinese clubs Shanghai Shenhua, Shanghai SIPG, and Guangzhou Evergrande have yet to open their group campaign.
The staging of the Champions League final is another opportunity for Qatar, the 2022 World Cup hosts, to showcase their facilities.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1603326757labto1603326757ofdlr1603326757owedi1603326757sni@o1603326757fni1603326757