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AFC Champions League football matches delayed over Saudi-Iran tension

AFC Champions League matches between clubs from two countries delayed over diplomatic row

Image Credit: Reuters
Lekhwiya’s Mohammad Tresor (left) fights for the ball with Al Hilal’s Yasir Al Shahrani during their AFC Asian Champions League quarter-final at King Fahd Stadium in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh.

Doha: The Asian Football Confederation has switched its Champions League schedule to delay matches between clubs from Saudi Arabia and Iran amid diplomatic tension.

The AFC says it set a March 15 deadline for "a return to normal relations" otherwise all matches between teams from the countries will be played at neutral venues.

The governing body wants "to obtain independent evaluation on the safety and security situation" by mid-March.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran this month in a dispute that escalated after Riyadh executed a cleric.

The Saudi football federation supports its clubs who refuse to travel to Iran.

Matches in Iran for Saudi clubs Al Hilal and Al Nassr due on February 24 and March 1, respectively, are now scheduled for May 3 and April 20.

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