Three Iranian clubs barred from 2022 Asian Champions League

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Three Iranian soccer clubs were barred Friday from the Asian Champions League, including 2020 finalist Persepolis, after having their license to compete withdrawn.

The Asian Football Confederation did not specify why Persepolis, Esteghlal and Gol Gohar Sirjan are now ineligible to play in the 2022 competition.

The AFC cited licensing regulations the clubs failed to meet which relate to issues including timely submission of documents about stadium safety, having fully qualified staff and details of who owns clubs.

Replacement clubs were not named Friday. Preliminary round games are scheduled to be played in March, but the draw for the group stage will be made on Jan. 17.

Persepolis was due to enter the group stage as the 2020-21 Persian Gulf pro League winner.

Esteghlal, a two-time Asian champion before the Champions League was launched, placed third in the domestic league and would have entered a playoff round.

Gol Gohar Sirjan’s withdrawn license prevents the club from entering as a replacement.

The AFC said its disciplinary committee would study the case files of all three clubs for possible sanctions.

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