KUALA LUMPUR: Three Australian clubs have pulled out of the 2021 Asian Champions League amid an interrupted domestic season prolonged by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Asian Football Confederation issued a statement on Friday saying it taken note of Football Federation Australia’s confirmation of the withdrawals of Sydney FC, Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar from the continental club championship after an A-League overhaul caused scheduling clashes.
“The matter will now be referred to the relevant AFC committees, with a decision to be communicated in due course,” the AFC said in a statement.
The AFC did not give a reason for the withdrawals but Australia’s top flight A-League announced earlier on Friday it had rejigged its schedule because of an outbreak of Covid-19 in the southern state of Victoria.
All three clubs placed in the top six in the A-League regular season to qualify for the playoffs, which start June 11 and are scheduled to conclude on June 26.
Brisbane were due to face Philippine team Kaya FC-Iloilo on June 20 in the Champions League preliminary round, and Melbourne were to play Japan’s Cerezo Osaka the following day.
Sydney FCs group stage opener was scheduled for June 26 against South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
Organisers have given no details of which clubs, if any, will replace the A-League teams.
Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2021