The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced that the AFC Champions League 2020 preliminary stages ties involving clubs from IR Iran will be played at neutral venues in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
— #ACL2020 (@TheAFCCL) January 22, 2020
As a result, the four Iranian clubs who are participating in this season’s ACL had threatened to pull out of the competition if they are not allowed to play their home matches in Iran.
However, the AFC has now confirmed that the Preliminary Round 2 matches will indeed be moved to neutral venues.
“The AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage ties involving Shahr Khodro FC (IR Iran) vs Riffa (Bahrain) and Esteghlal FC (IR Iran) vs Kuwait SC (Kuwait) — both scheduled for January 21, 2020 — have been moved to neutral venues because of ongoing security concerns and the decision of several governments to issue travel warnings to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the AFC said in a statement.
“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,” it added.