Football

Al Hilal taking legal action against AFC Champions League disqualification

The Saudi Arabian club is seeking to recover its right to continue participating in the competition after being disqualified by AFC.

Al Hilal taking legal action against AFC Champions League disqualification
KARIM JAAFAR AFP

Asian reigning champions Al-Hilal announced on Friday that it is taking legal action against the decision taken by the AFC to disqualify the club from the Asian Champions League because the team's squad, which has been seriously hit by Covid-19 infections, did not contain enough players for the last round of group-stage games.

Al-Hilal's squad only included 8 players and 3 goalkeepers which isn't adequate according to the competition's regulations that require each team's squad to comprise of 13 players including a goalkeeper.

As a result, the AFC decided to disqualify Al-Hilal and disregard all their previous results based on subjects 3-4 from the competition regulations. AFC have deemed Pakhtakor and Shabab Al-Ahly as the two qualified teams from the group. 

The club's board revealed that they will submit an appeal against the AFC's decision to retain their right to participate in the competition.

More than 30 infections among players and staff

The team has reported more than 30 Covid-19 infections among players, coaching and administrative staff. They had secured their qualification as leaders of their group before their last group game against Shabab Al-Ahli, when the squad only included 11 players.

The club's board of directors released a statement following the incident to make things clear for their fans stressing that the club has done everything possible to keep defending their title including requesting postponing Al-Hilal games so that some players can recover and complete their squad. However, all requests have been rejected by AFC.