AFC: No neutral venues for Saudi-Qatar football matches

Asia's football governing body rejects Saudi Arabia's call for moving fixtures against Qatar to neutral state amid rift.

    AFC: No neutral venues for Saudi-Qatar football matches
    The AFC Champions League 2018 will begin on February 12 [File: Kaz Photography/Getty Images]

    Saudi Arabia must host Qatar's football teams during the Asian Champions League for home fixtures next month and allow Saudi teams to travel to the neighbouring state for away matches despite the Gulf diplomatic crisis, according to the ruling of Asia's football governing body.

    The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Saturday said it rejected Riyadh's call to have all matches against Qatar to be moved to a neutral territory.

    "Clubs from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should be played on a home and away basis in 2018 as per the AFC regulations," AFC said in a statement published on its website.

    The statement said AFC made the decision following an independent safety and security assessment.

    Saudi football teams are due to travel to Qatar for away matches beginning next month.

    Travel ban

    Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal have been placed with Qatar's Al Rayyan in Group D of the AFC Champions League beginning February 12.

    Qatar's Al Sadd are in Group C along with the UAE's Al Wasl, while in Group B Qatar's Al Duhail are pitted against the UAE's Al Wahda.

    In June last year after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt broke diplomatic ties with Qatar. The quartet also imposed a ban on travel in and out of Qatar.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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