AFC fills Champions League (East) groups ready for June kick-off

March 18 – The final East Zone AFC Champions League slots are filling up with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) ruling that both teams from the play-off match between FC Pohang Steelers from Korea Republic and Thailand’s Ratchaburi FC will fill the Group G slots available.

Originally there was just one slot to fill but with the shock disbandment of Chinese Super League champions Jiangsu, another qualification space opened up.

The AFC had already replaced China’s Shandong in the group stages (for failing the club licensing criteria due to outstanding debt), with China’s SIPG Shanghai.

Jiangsu would have taken a spot in Group G is to be centrally hosted in Thailand June 21 to July 7. Thailand is also hosting East Zone groups F and J. Venues for Groups H and I in the East zone are still to be announced.

The AFC has expanded its Champions League this season adding and extra eight teams at the group stage – one group in the east zone and one in the west.

After the centralised group stages the competition will then break until September when it restarts with round of 16 matches. The two-legged final will be played November 21 and 27 with the winner becoming the AFC’s representative in the second Club World Cup of 2021 in Japan in December.

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