AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

AFC Champions League: Johor Darul Ta'zim withdraw

The AFC has confirmed the withdrawal of the Malaysian side from the ACL east region in Qatar due to their inability to travel to the host country.

AFC Champions League: Johor Darul Ta'zim withdraw
MARCELO ENDELLI AFP

Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta'zim have been forced to withdraw from the AFC Champions League in Qatar next week due to the border closure aimed at containing the spread of covid-19 implemented in their country since last March.

The Asian Football Confederation confirmed the news in a statement that said JDT's "matches are canceled and considered null and void", which means that points and goals in those games will not be taken into consideration when the final rankings in the group stage are being determined.

JDT were competing in Group G along with Japan's Vissel Kobe, China's Guangzhou Evergrande, and South Korea's Suwon Bluewings.

Malaysian authorities refuse to grant exceptions

Malaysia's borders have been closed since a short time after the outbreak of the pandemic, with the Malaysian defense minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob confirming that the closure of the borders is still in place and no travel exception will be granted to the seven-time champions, saying: "Our policy remains the same. The borders are still closed."

The AFC Champions League east region will resume in the Qatari capital Doha next week. The western zone was completed in October, Iranians Persepolis securing a spot in the final after beating Al-Nassr of Saudi Arabia on penalties in the semi-finals. The finalist from the east competition will take on Persepolis at Al-Janoub Stadium on 19 December.