Qatar set to host remaining AFC Champions League East Zone matches
The AFC Champions League East Zone will resume in Doha, Qatar, on 18 November.
The opening match between Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua and Australian team Perth Glory will take place at Education City Stadium, a FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ venue. It will signal the return of East Zone matches after they were halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sixteen teams from six countries – China, Korea Republic, Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand – will compete for a spot in the final against Iranian side Persepolis on 19 December. A total of 44 matches will be held during the East Zone tournament, which will finish on 13 December.
Hosting East Zone matches follows Qatar’s successful hosting of West Zone matches during September and October. Strict bubble-to-bubble protocols, regular testing, and cohesive health and safety measures will continue during the East Zone tournament to prevent any potential spread of COVID-19.
Qatar’s hosting of these matches will allow the AFC Champions League to be completed within the calendar year – as planned. It also provides the country with opportunities to test its preparations ahead of Qatar 2022 in two years’ time.
East Zone matches will be held at four stadiums, including three which will host games during Qatar 2022: Education City Stadium, Al Janoub Stadium and Khalifa International Stadium. In addition, matches will also take place at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, the home of Al Sadd Sports Club.
FIFA-compliant training sites will be used by the competing teams. These are based at Qatar University, Al Oqla and Al Ersal.
The Local Organising Committee comprises employees from Qatar Football Association (QFA), the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and the Qatar Stars League.
Hani Taleb Ballan, Executive Committee Member, QFA, said: “We are pleased to provide safe facilities in order to support the completion of East Zone matches and look forward to welcoming the top football clubs from across East Asia.
“We are proud to be selected as the host country for these remaining matches after successfully hosting West Zone matches earlier this year. This adds another achievement for us on our way to hosting the World Cup in 2022.”
Ballan added: “Being chosen to host the East Zone matches reflects our strong collaboration with the AFC and the confidence in Qatar’s organisational capabilities. We will provide the best facilities coupled with organisational experience and healthcare to the highest international standards to ensure the success of the tournament at all levels.”
Following the conclusion of the East Zone matches, the AFC Champions League final will take place in Doha on 19 December.
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