KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) have withdrawn from the AFC Champions League after authorities refused to let them travel for the tournament due to COVID-19 restrictions, officials said on Friday (Nov 13).
The delayed Champions League East competition runs from Nov 18 to Dec 4 in a bio-secure “bubble” in Qatar, followed by knockout games leading up to the final in Doha on Dec 19.
But the Malaysian government decided that JDT, who were second in Group G, would not be allowed to leave the country as its borders remain closed to stem the spread of COVID-19.
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Technical director Alistair Edwards said the team were “extremely disappointed”, but added: “We respect the decision by the Malaysian government and understand that such safety measures need to be enforced.”
Malaysia, which has seen a spike in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, banned most travel in and out of the country earlier this year, shortly after the pandemic emerged.
The AFC confirmed that JDT had withdrawn from the region’s premier club competition, leaving only three clubs in Group G.