Johor Darul Ta’zim forced out of Asian Champions League Due to Covid Travel Restrictions
Malaysian giants Johor Darul Ta’zim have been forced to withdraw from the Asian Champions League restart as their government refused the team permission to leave the country to fly to the ‘bubble’ in Doha.
Borders were closed in Malaysia in March to help stop the spread, and Malaysia’s defence minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has confirmed that no travel exception will be grated to the 7-time champions, saying ‘Our policy remains the same. The borders are still closed.’
JDT were initially drawn in an intriguing group featuring two-time champion Guangzhou Evergrande, Andrés Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe, and South Korean club Suwon Bluewings.
Alistair Edwards, Johor Darul Ta’zim FC Technical Director was disappointed with the decision, but understands health and safety is the priority.
‘Johor Darul Ta’zim FC (JDT) have been informed by the National Security Council (NSC) that we will not be given permission to travel to Doha, Qatar for the 2020 AFC Champions League (ACL).
‘While JDT are extremely disappointed in not being able to participate in Asia’s highest club competition and the Malaysia Cup, we respect the decision by the Malaysian Government and understand that such safety measures need to be enforced due to the rising cases of the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘The well-being of everyone — including the JDT squad that would have travelled to Doha — is a priority. We pray and hope that the world can overcome the pandemic ahead of the 2021 season,’ said Edwards.