SEOUL (AP) — The eastern portion of the Asian Champions League was again delayed Thursday, pushed back further to June and July because of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The group stage normally starts in February, but the East Region had already been delayed until April and May by the Asian Football Confederation.
The western portion of the competition is scheduled to begin in April. The dates for the knockout stage will be confirmed at a later date.
This year’s competition has been expanded from 32 teams to 40.
The AFC also announced the host venues for most of the groups as part of its “centralized hub” policy designed to reduce travel amid the pandemic.
Saudi Arabia will host three groups in the East Region, while the United Arab Emirates and India will stage one each. In the west, Thailand will host three groups and two have yet to be decided.
Last year’s tournament was also disrupted by the pandemic with the later stages all played in Qatar.
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