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The 2022 Asian Champions League winners will not be determined until February 2023 in a reworking of the calendar prompted by the coronavirus and the Qatar World Cup, the regional confederation (AFC) said on Thursday.
“Travel procedures around Asia have become more challenging with new travel restrictions and protocols being introduced by several countries in efforts to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant,” the AFC said.
“The Asian teams who are likely to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 are expected to put in place extensive preparation plans for the competition and a need was felt to facilitate such tune-ups in the face of the uncertain situation and unforeseen risks.”
Winners from regional groups split into East and West Asia will contest the two-legged final February 19 and 26, 2023.
The group phases and knock-out matches to the semi-finals will be held in single venues.
The western groups - including teams from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran - will be played April 7-27 while the eastern groups - including clubs from Australia, China, Japan and South Korea - will be April 15-May 1.
A winner from the eastern section will be determined by August this year but their opponent in the final will be known only on February 10, 2023.
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