Asian Football Confederation Rules Can Cope With Gulf Dispute, Exec Says
Asian Football Confederation regulations "can cope with any political issues facing clubs" from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE that meet in next season's Asian Champions League, AFC General Secretary Windsor John said on Thursday, according to Michael Church of REUTERS. Saudi Arabia and the UAE -- along with Bahrain and Egypt -- cut diplomatic, transport and trade ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of "financing terrorism." Doha denies the charges. The diplomatic standoff with 2022 World Cup host Qatar has "already caused numerous issues for football in the region." Clubs from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were drawn to play each other on Wednesday in the group phase of the Asian Champions League, which kicks off in February, but John believes the confederation can "weather the political storm." He said, "The AFC executive committee has made a decision that they would like all of the matches to be played as per the format, and I believe our regulations at AFC are solid enough to deal with any situation as we have done in the past" (REUTERS, 12/7).