A-League clubs Sydney FC, Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar have withdrawn from the Asian Champions League, less than three week before their first games.
- The Asian Champions League games later this month conflict with the A-League’s finals schedule
- Due to constant COVID rescheduling, the A-League finals fixture was not set until this week
- The A-League grand final is set to take place on June 26
Football Australia confirmed the three A-League teams had pulled out of the 2021 tournament, according to a statement from the Asian Football Confederation.
“The matter will now be referred to the relevant AFC Committees, with a decision to be communicated in due course,” the statement read.
Brisbane was set to play Filipino team Kaya FC-Iloilo in the preliminary stage on June 20, with Melbourne City’s playoff game against Japanese club Cerezo Osaka played the next day in Thailand.
Sydney FC’s group stage in Uzbekistan was set to kick off on June 26 against South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC.
Those dates clash with the A-League finals schedule, which was finally revealed earlier on Friday.
The A-League post-season starts with elimination finals on the weekend of June 11-13, featuring the third-placed team hosting the that finishes sixth, and fourth vs fifth.
The semi-finals will be hosted by Melbourne City and Sydney FC on June 18 and 19 respectively, with the grand final set for June 26.
The A-League is hoping to have City’s semi-final at Melbourne’s AAMI Park, but said the venue would be confirmed nearer the date.
“Everyone has played their part in getting to this point – the players, the fans, and all the staff behind the scenes – and nothing would celebrate such a memorable season than a finals series for the ages,” league commissioner Greg O’Rourke said.
“We have seen so much exciting young, Australian talent on display this year, and it’s been striking how many well-informed judges have found storylines to love all season.
“While it’s been a logistical challenge like no other to get to this point of the season, and we remain as flexible as we need to be in current circumstances, all eyes will be on the football in the last few weeks of this campaign.”