Consadole Sapporo GK Sugino Takanori reacts during their J-League soccer match against Yokohama FC without spectators at Nippatsu Stadium in Yokohama, near Tokyo Saturday, July 4, 2020. Japan’s professional soccer league restarted on Saturday after a four-month break caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Asian Champions League is set to restart after a seven-month pause with Qatar announced on Thursday as the host of all western region games through the semifinals.

The Asian Football Confederation said 16 teams -- including four from Saudi Arabia and four from the United Arab Emirates -- will go to Qatar as a centralized venue to complete the group stage starting from Sept. 14.

Games in Asia’s top club competition have not been played since February due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Teams advancing from the groups will stay in Qatar for single-leg knockout games from the round of 16 to the western semifinal on Oct. 3.

The 39 scheduled games will produce a finalist from the western region.

The AFC said possible host nations in eastern Asia to stage the other half of the competition “have until July 24 to submit their interest.”

The Asian Champions Leagues east region groups include teams from Australia, China, Japan and South Korea.


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