Saudi Row Could See Iran Clubs Quit Champions League

Iran may withdraw its teams from Asia's biggest club tournament if they are blocked from hosting matches against Saudi Arabian clubs because of the diplomatic dispute. Reuters/Phil Noble

By Patrick Johnston

Feb 16 (Reuters) – Iran may withdraw its teams from Asia’s biggest club tournament if they are blocked from hosting matches against Saudi Arabian clubs because of the diplomatic dispute between the rivals, an official with Iranian soccer champions Sepahan told Reuters.

The Asian Football Confederation is considering playing matches between Saudi and Iranian teams on neutral territory following complaints from all four Saudi teams—a move the Iranians say could spark a walkout.

“I hope there will be a resolution but we are considering to withdraw from the Champions League if they insist on a third place (neutral venue),” Sepahan team manager Rassol Khorvash told Reuters. The AFC says it will make a decision in March.

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