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February 9, 2021

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Shandong expelled from AFC Champions League

Chinese FA Cup winner Shandong Luneng has been kicked out of this year’s AFC Champions League after the Asian Football Confederation withdrew the club’s license for the continental championship due to outstanding overdue payments.

Shandong, which beat Jiangsu Suning in the CFA Cup final to qualify, had been drawn to face Port FC from Thailand, Hong Kong’s Kitchee and a playoff winner in Group J. The group phase of the competition is scheduled to begin in April with the opening rounds due to be played in centralized venues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The AFC said Shandong had been declared ineligible due to breaking a rule that clubs must not owe money to current or former employees, or the authorities. The governing body did not disclose further details, but said the Chinese Super League team’s spot would be given to another side. CSL champion Jiangsu and twice Asian champion Guangzhou Evergrande have qualified for the group phase of the competition while Beijing Guoan will feature in the playoff rounds.


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