• Reuters, AFP-Jiji

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Malaysian champion Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) has withdrawn from the Asian Champions League as they are unable to travel to Qatar for the resumption of the competition, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed on Friday.

Border closures implemented by Malaysia in March to limit the spread of COVID-19 will not be lifted to allow the club to complete their matches in the continental championship, which will restart next week in Doha.

The AFC said in a statement that JDT’s matches are canceled and considered null and void. It added that points and goals in those matches would not be taken into consideration when the final rankings in the group stage are determined.

JDT Technical director Alistair Edwards said the team was “extremely disappointed” but added: “We respect the decision by the Malaysian government and understand that such safety measures need to be enforced.”

Japan’s Vissel Kobe, China’s Guangzhou Evergrande and South Korea’s Suwon Bluewings will now compete in Group G. The eastern half of the competition will be completed in Doha with the semifinal winner facing Iran’s Persepolis FC in the Dec. 19 final.

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