The Asian Football Confederation have announced that Football Australia have withdrawn Sydney FC, Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City out of this year’s edition of the competition.
“The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has taken note of Football Australia’s confirmation of the withdrawals of Sydney FC, Melbourne City FC and Brisbane Roar from the Group, Playoff and Preliminary stages of the 2021 AFC Champions League respectively.
“The matter will now be referred to the relevant AFC Committees, with a decision to be communicated in due course.”
All Australian participating clubs in this year’s edition of the Asian Champions League were scheduled to compete in a hub-style environment similar to last year’s edition.
Sydney FC were due to play their group stage fixtures in Uzbekistan, commencing with a clash against South Korean club Jeonbuk Motors FC on the 26th of June.
The Brisbane Roar were due to play their preliminary stage fixture against Phillipines club Kaya FC-Ilolio on the 20th of June in Thailand while Melbourne City were due to play their playoff match against Cerezo Osaka of Japan on the 21st of June.
The AFC have since announced that Kaya FC will progress to their playoff against Shanghai Port, with Chiangrai FC of Thailand to replace Sydney FC in Group I and Cerezo Osaka winning their playoff by default, slotting themselves into Group J.
Earlier this week the APL confirmed that the A-League Finals Series has been extended from their original dates due to the current COVID-19 situation within Victoria, with the Grand Final set to take place on the 26th of June.
This finals schedule conflicts with the original scheduling of fixtures for A-League clubs in the ACL, yet travel logistics and scheduling has been cited as the main reasons for the withdrawal of the clubs
Last year, the Perth Glory were prepared to face a $50,000 fine and a three-year ban from the competition for refusing to travel to Korea for a group stage fixture in last year’s edition of the ACL.
The Glory did not end up being sanctioned, yet all three A-League clubs and the FA are faced with differing circumstances in this instance.
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