Football

Al Hilal board release statement after disqualification from AFC Champions League

The Saudi-Arabian club's board of directors has released a statement following the decision of the AFC to disqualify Al-Hilal team from the Asian Champions League.

Al Hilal board release statement after disqualification from AFC Champions League
KARIM JAAFAR AFP

Al-Hilal's board of directors, headed by MR Fahd Ben Saad Ben Nafel, released a statement to clarify to the club's fans the circumstances of their team's participation in the Asian Champions League. The statement comes on the back of the club's disqualification from the competition by the Asian Football Confederation AFC, with possible legal action on the horizon.

The board's statement explained that the club's administration did everything they could to continue in the competition despite the spread of Covid-19 infections among players and staff that exceeded 30 cases, for two main reasons which are:

- The team's desire to proudly represent Saudi Arabia in international competitions and defend its title.

- To live up to the aspirations and ambitions of the fans and the eagerness to make them proud under any circumstances.

The statement also added that the club's efforts were made across on a number of levels including:

The club requested postponing Al Hilal's games for a day in order to give the infected players more time to recover.

The club also requested delaying knock-out stage games given that several teams have been affected by Covid-19, not only Al Hilal.

The team went to the stadium where the game against Ahly Dubai was supposed to be played despite the fact the squad did not have enough players according to the regulations. The club's hope was that a decision would be given that Al-Hilal had lost the game, but without them being disqualified from the competition.

All the requests submitted by the club were rejected by AFC however, who called off the game and also decided to disregard the results of Al-Hilal previous games.

Legal action would be taken

The statement also mentioned that the board of directors is considering taking legal action against the decision, as the club's intention has always been to continue in the competition despite losing 19 players due to the infection's spread.

Al-Hilal's squad for the Ahly Dubai game only included 8 players and three goalkeepers while the competition's regulations stipulate that every squad should contain at least 13 players including a goalkeeper, which the team failed to fulfill prior to the game.