Iranian teams accept to face rivals at ACL Preliminary Stage 2 in UAE

January 23, 2020 - 13:42

TEHRAN – Iranian football teams Esteghlal and Shahr Khodro have accepted to meet their opponents at the AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage 2 in the UAE.

Iranian clubs’ general managers met with AFC General Secretary Dato' Windsor John in Asian Football Confederation’s headquarters on Thursday to address the situation.

According to the agreement, the Iranian football teams can host their opponents at home in the competition’s group stage.

The AFC said that home group-stage matches on matchday one, two and three involving Iranian clubs would be switched to away fixtures “to allow time to reassess the security concerns in the country”.

Esteghlal and Shahr Khodro should play their rivals in the UAE in the Preliminary Stage 2.

“To help facilitate the switch to neutral venues, which has been approved by the relevant AFC committees, the AFC will now reschedule the games to January 25, 2020 in the United Arab Emirates,” the AFC said in a statement on Wednesday.

Esteghlal and Kuwait SC match was originally scheduled for Tuesday in Tehran but according to the new fixture, the Iranian team should meet the Kuwaiti side at the Alawir Stadium in Dubai on Saturday.

Shahr Khodro must also face Bahraini football club Riffa at the Sharjah Stadium on Saturday.  

A few days ago, AFC sent a letter to the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) telling them that they would not be hosting AFC Champions League matches for the foreseeable future.

In response to the AFC’s decision, four Iranian clubs – Persepolis, Sepahan, Esteghlal and Shahr Khodro - announced that they will withdraw from the tournament if the AFC insists on its decision.

Persepolis have been drawn to meet Al Duhail from Qatar, Saudi Arabia’s Al Taawon and UAE champions Sharjah in the group phase of this year's competition.

Sepahan are slated to meet Saudi champions Al Nassr, Qatar’s Al Sadd and a qualifier from the play-offs.

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