18 May 2021
Fantastic start to 2021 AFC Champions League in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) hosted the first, third, and fourth group matches of the 2021 AFC Champions League, from 14 to 30 April 2021. Saudi had the honour of welcoming 12 compelling teams in 2 vibrant cities for a breathtaking start to the 2021 season.
All matches were deemed a great success, both on and off the field of play. Playing host to clubs from 8 countries across Asia, the matches saw some incredible football being played, with Saudi teams Al Nassr and Al Hilal joining Iran’s Esteghlal and Tajikistan’s Istiklol in qualifying for the Round of 16. Amid the current pandemic, the safety and well-being of everyone involved in the matches was of utmost importance, with stringent measures in place.
The ability to host three groups of this prestigious league on such short notice reflects the dedication to football within the Kingdom. Groups A and D were held in the Riyadh, and Group C in Jeddah. Each of the four venues involved in the hosting, in addition to a venue in Dammam, are an integral part of Saudi Arabia’s bid for the AFC Asian Cup 2027.
President of the AFC Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa was full of praise for the organisation of the Groups, saying: “I extend my thanks and appreciation to the Saudi Football Association, which hosted the first, third and fourth groups in a remarkable manner that confirms the strength and professionalism of its cadres led by Yasser Almisehal”.
Thank you to the staff and players of every team for visiting Saudi Arabia. We hope you enjoyed the Saudi hospitality, and hope you welcome you back soon!