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Shanghai Port to take part in AFC Champions League following Shandong expulsion

Shanghai Port have been granted a place in the ACL play-off round as Shandong were expelled due to overdue payables.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - AFC Champions League - Round of 16 - Vissel Kobe v Shanghai SIPG - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - December 7, 2020  Shanghai SIPG players pose for a team group photo before the match  REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari/F

The Chinese Super League side currently known as Shanghai Port FC (formerly Shanghai SIPG) have received a late call-up to participate in this year's AFC champions league play-off round, replacing  Shandong Luneng who have been expelled by the Asian Confederation over some overdue payables - outstanding payments that were not honoured.

Shanghai, the 2018 Super League title winners, were initially deprived of taking part in this year's continental championship as they finished fourth in the domestic league last year, however, they will have a chance to feature in the tournament as Shandong disqualification has been confirmed.

Shandong who had earned their appearance in the competition by winning the Chinese FA Cup got their license to play revoked over the late dues they haven't paid off, which urged AFC to announce on Thursday that The AFC said on Guangzhou FC will replace Shandong as China’s second-ranked club in the competition and, as a result, Fabio Cannavaro’s side will play in Group J alongside Hong Kong’s Kitchee, Port FC from Thailand and either Melbourne City, Myanmar’s Shan United or Cerezo Osaka from Japan.

Meanwhile, Beijing FC that had finished third in the league will avert featuring in the play-off round and will automatically qualify to the group stage, while Shanghai Port will take on either Brisbane Roar from Australia or Kaya-Iloilo of the Philippines in the playoff rounds to secure a spot in Group F alongside reigning champion Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea, Thailand’s BG Pathum United and Viettel from Vietnam.


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