AFC dismisses Al Hilal's appeal over Champions League withdrawal

Al Hilal's departure means Shabab Al Ahli Dubai progressed to the knockout stage from Group B along with Uzbeki club Pakhtakor. 

Al Hilal's official lineup had only nine players and two goalkeepers as substitutes after 15 members of the squad tested positive last week.   -  Getty Images

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Saturday dismissed a protest lodged by Al Hilal against its withdrawal from the Asian Champions League because they were able to name only 11 players for their final Group B fixture.

The Saudi club, which had already qualified for the last 16, said they had been determined to defend their title despite 30 players and staff becoming infected with COVID-19 in the Qatar hub where Asia's premier club competition resumed last week.

But AFC rules state teams must name a minimum of 13 players in its matchday squads and Wednesday's game did not go ahead. The AFC ruled that Al Hilal was "deemed to have withdrawn from the competition".

Al Hilal's departure means Shabab Al Ahli Dubai progressed to the knockout stage from Group B along with Uzbeki club Pakhtakor. 

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