“Under the Article 4.3 of the special rules applicable to AFC competitions during the COVID-19 pandemic, (Al Hilal) are deemed to have withdrawn from the competition.”
As a result, all of Al Hilal’s matches have been considered null and void, allowing Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai to progress to the last 16.
The AFC allows 35 players to be registered for the competition but Al Hilal registered 30, of which only 27 travelled to Doha.
Last week, United Arab Emirates’ Al Wahda were also withdrawn from the competition after they failed to arrive in Qatar for their remaining group matches because they were put in quarantine by UAE authorities after positive tests in the squad.
The AFC Champions League, Asia’s elite club competition, which was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resumed in the West Asia hub of Doha, Qatar last week and will resume in the East Asia hub of Malaysia on October 16.