Doha to stage AFC Champions League through to final
The final of the AFC Champions League, Asian soccer's top clubs competition, will be played in Doha, Qatar as a single-leg contest on 19 December.
The final, which is usually played over two legs, was slated for 5 December, provisionally in the West Zone.
It will be contested by Iran's Persepolis, which have already qualified by beating Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia in the semi-final for the West Zone, and the club which emerges from the East Zone competition.
The 2020 AFC Champions League has been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the Asian Football Confederation chose to stage West Zone matches across four stadiums in Doha in September and October when play finally resumed.
The Qatari capital is also due to stage the remaining East Zone games, which are now due to start on 18 November. The round of 16 will take place on 6 and 7 December, followed by the quarter-finals on 10 December and the semi-finals on 13 December, just six days before the final.
Qatar is already due to hold the 2022 Fifa World Cup, and the AFC said its hosting of Champions League matches to date had proved the Qatar Football Association had the capability, capacity and medical infrastructure to stage the final.
AFC general secretary Windsor John said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly made the decision on the venue for this year’s final more complex. In addition to the numerous restrictions, the AFC wanted to protect the important principal of sporting fair play.
“This will be, unlike previous years, a one-off final and we therefore needed to ensure that there was no unfair advantage to one team or the other. The successful staging of the AFC Champions league (West) is testament to the capability of the QFA and the Qatar government.”
Mansoor Mohammed Al-Ansari, QFA secretary general, said: “Given the success of hosting the centralised West region matches in close collaboration with the AFC, and the preparation for the centralised East matches next month we are confident that we will be able to deliver an outstanding AFC Champions League Final.
“Qatar wishes to reiterate our commitment to provide world-class sporting infrastructure and operational health and safety expertise and we look forward towards working hand-in-hand with the AFC to offer Asia’s best cubs with the ultimate stage in December.”