World news – AU – 2020 AFC Champions League West Zone matches: Qatar implements strict safety measures


Qatar, who are hosting the West Zone matches of the 2020 AFC Champions League, have implemented an array of strict measures to ensure a bio-secure environment for the players and officials. 

The steps and protocols have been implemented by the Qatar Football Association (QFA), the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and the Qatar Stars League (QSL) in consultation with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

The steps include mandatory Covid-19 testing, safe transportation, regular sanitising of all venues, training and media facilities, as well as the ensuring the presence of medical staff throughout the competition.

All players and tournament officials were tested for Covid-19 upon their arrival to Qatar. As soon as they arrived in their designated accommodation, players and tournament officials were all placed in a ‘medical bubble’.

Of course, movement outside the bubble has been restricted and social distancing procedures like wearing masks, utilising sanitisers and limited capacity transportation have all been implemented.

Nasser Al Khater, CEO of the 2020 AFC Champions League Local Organising Committee (LOC) and CEO of the World Cup in 2022, has already stated the importance of Qatar holding the AFC Champions League as football slowly returns in Asia following the pandemic.

« Hosting the AFC Champions League marks a great milestone in the return of football at a continental level, following the unprecedented disruption of the last few months, and we are proud to be able to step in to host such a prestigious tournament. Our top priority is to ensure that everyone involved in the event remains healthy and safe, and we are working hard to make this so, » he said.

Three of the four venues being used for the tournament are 2022 World Cup venues – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Janoub Stadium and Education City Stadium.

« We’re also pleased to be able to further test the operational efficiency of three of our eight FIFA World Cup stadiums, as well as our world-class training facilities, allowing some of the Asian continent’s best clubs experience our new sporting infrastructure being developed for 2022, » Al Khater added.

The tournament started on September 14 and will run until October 3 and is being held behind closed doors. Clubs from Iraq, Iran, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and hosts Qatar are participating in the competition.

Yahya Golmohammadi, Iranian club Persepolis’ coach, praised Qatar for taking the initiative to hold the tournament during a testing phase. In a pre-match press conference at the Education City stadium on Sunday, he said, « First of all, I would like to thank the state of Qatar and Qatar Football Association for building these stadiums. As a player and now coach I have travelled far and wide, but have never ever seen or experienced such wonderful football arenas with advance technology.

« These venues are not only a credit to Qatar, but to the whole Asian continent. No country apart from Qatar was brave or ready enough to stage the AFC Champions League (West Zone) competition. »

The former Iran national team player who played in the 2006 World Cup in Germany and scored against Mexico in the same, appreciated the Qatar’s efforts in promoting football across Asia.

« I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to every single one of those involved in bringing Asian club football back to us and made it possible for us to play here. I wish nothing but success for the entire Qatari football family.

« I hope that all Asian countries learn from Qatar and duplicate their efforts to promote football across our continent. It is a huge task and difficult to accomplish. But, we across Asia can achieve this with meticulous planning as did the Qatari football and state authorities. »


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