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Sport

Doha to host single leg Asian Champions League final

(Reuters) - Qatar will host the single leg final of this year’s Asian Champions League in Doha on Dec. 19 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on Friday.

Like most other sports in the world, this year’s Asian Champions League was suspended in March due to the pandemic.

West zone games in the continent’s top club tournament were moved to Qatar when the sport resumed last month and the AFC then moved all remaining games for East zone sides from Malaysia to Qatar.

The East zone games will take place from Nov. 18 to Dec. 13.

It was, therefore, no surprise that Doha was also awarded the hosting rights for the final.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly made the decision on the venue for this year’s final more complex particularly in these uncertain times of travel and health restrictions,” AFC general secretary Windsor John said in a statement.

“In addition to the numerous restrictions, the AFC also wanted to protect the important principle 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.”

Despite stringent bio-security measures, several teams were affected by the novel coronavirus, with last year’s winners Al Hilal axed from the competition after they reached the knockout phase with a game to spare.

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Christian Radnedge

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