AFC Champions League expected to resume in September with single match knockouts

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 (Xinhua) — The AFC Champions League (ACL) is expected to resume in September following the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a new calendar released by the Asian Football Confederation on Thursday.

The schedule sees the ACL’s group stage in West Asia to be held in September, followed by knockout stages with semifinals to be completed by early October.

The remaining matches of East Asia’s group stage will be played from mid-October, with the knockout stage to be played in November.

All of the planned group matches will be played in full, while the knockout rounds will now consist of single match ties rather than the traditional home-and-away format.

The group stages and knockout stage will be played in a centralized manner, with venues to be confirmed. This year’s ACL final will be a single match to be played on December 5 at a venue in West Asia.

The calendar released on Thursday also includes national team, club and futsal competitions, as the AFC pledged to complete this year’s competitions.

AFC general secretary Windsor John said constant and effective engagement between the body and its member associations had enabled the rescheduling of competitions.

“Notwithstanding the challenging times, I am delighted that we are seeing more encouraging progress on the return of many domestic leagues to the field and with them comes an expectation that we can conclude both the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup in the coming months,” he said.

The Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in China, which were postponed from March, June and September, have already been rescheduled for October and November 2020. Enditem

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