AFC Declares the Termination of the Neutral Ground Period in the Saudi-Iranian Conflict

    The Asian Football Confederation has announced that the AFC Champions League matches between Saudi and Iranian clubs will be played on a home-and-away system in the two countries, after having been held on a neutral ground since 2016.

    The AFC statement on Monday said the development came “following a groundbreaking agreement between the Saudi and Iranian federations on Monday, which the AFC was made aware of.”

    The AFC added that by hosting home and away matches starting September 19, they “reaffirm their full commitment to ensuring the highest standards of safety for all involved in these matches while providing the necessary conditions.” approval of the relevant committees.

    Following the AFC Champions League western region draw on August 24 last year, Saudi champion Al-Ittihad will face Iran’s Sepahan in Group C, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal Iran’s Mazandaran Weavers in fourth place and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nasr. Arabia with Iranian Persepolis in the fifth.

    According to the decision of the AFC Executive Committee in 2016, the matches that brought together the teams of the Saudi and Iranian federations, whether at the level of national teams or clubs, were held on neutral fields in neighboring countries of the Persian Gulf.

    Riyadh severed ties with Tehran in 2016 after Iranian demonstrators attacked its embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad to protest Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

    However, the two countries agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies after a break that culminated in a China-brokered agreement on March 10 last year.

    Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia developed when the Islamic Republic opened its embassy in Saudi Arabia on June 6 last year.

    Source: agencies

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