The rescheduled Asian Champions League suffered another setback on Saturday when seven positive Covid-19 results were returned from the clubs competing in Qatar, including six from reigning champions Al Hilal.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) reported that five players and one member of management from the Saudi side had tested positive, alongside a player from host team Al Duhail. The West Asian section of the tournament resumes in Doha on Monday.
In a statement, the AFC said: “So far, the results of those tests have shown that five players and one member of the management team from Al Hilal Club of Saudi Arabia, and one player from Qatari side, Al Duhail, have tested positive.
“All the appropriate medical care and support is being given to the two teams and those who tested positive are under medical supervision in a quarantined environment as required by the safety measures and Covid-19 protocols put in place for the tournament.”
The revised group stage, which was halted in March because of the coronavirus outbreak, takes place in Qatar this month, with teams from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran and Uzbekistan completing all four remaining match days.
The AFC said on Thursday it had rejected a request from the UAE Football Association to postpone matches involving Al Wahda, since the Abu Dhabi side could not travel to Qatar after "several members" of the club tested positive for Covid-19. The Wahda staff is currently undergoing a 14-day quarantine in the capital. They were due to resume their Group A campaign on Monday, against Iran's Esteghlal.
Three other UAE clubs – Sharjah, Al Ain and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai – are also contesting the groups. The AFC announced on Thursday that the East Zone group stage, originally scheduled to resume in Malaysia in mid-October, will now run from November 15-December 13.