JDT out of Champions League over virus restrictions

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) have withdrawn from Asia’s Champions League after authorities refused to let them travel for the tournament due to coronavirus restrictions, officials said yesterday.

The delayed Champions League East competition runs from November 18 to December 4 in a bio-secure “bubble” in Qatar, followed by knockout games leading up to the final in Doha on December 19.

But the Malaysian government decided Johor, 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.

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.”

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed Johor had withdrawn from the region’s premier club competition, leaving only three clubs in Group G.