Sydney aren’t the only team with Champions League concerns

Sydney aren’t the only team with Champions League concerns
Sydney aren’t the only team with Champions League concerns
Instead, we are discussing how or even whether the group stage should end.

West Asia already has its finalist: Persepolis of Iran. The East will resume the group stage in mid-November and produce their finalists on December 13, five days before the big game.

It will all happen in Qatar and getting to and from this “bio-safe hub” is a problem for Australian clubs due to the quarantine rules at home.

Should Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory or Perth Glory reach the final, it will be January when the team ends quarantine at home. The 2020-21 A-League season starts on December 27th.

Sydney boss Steve Corica wants to make sure that his team can train together in quarantine, otherwise all the work in Qatar in the new season at home won’t bring much.

“That wouldn’t be very good preparation for anyone,” Corica told AAP.

“We’re working on this with the government now … but I’m pretty sure we can come back here, quarantine, and train too.”

“That will of course be a big factor in whether we can do that (whether) we go or not … (without exception) we would have to consider whether it is worth going.”

While comments like this won’t be music to the ears, they are officials from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) just desperate to have this tournament finished by the end of the year and wiped off, if it were just one team it wouldn’t be a big one Deal. In the western half, the AFC has been ruthless when it comes to forcing teams with coronavirus to retreat, even if there was enough time to play.

But Sydney’s concerns are, to some extent, shared elsewhere. An official from Jeonbuk Motors, the Korean giants have won the title twice. The club, which attaches great importance to the success of the tournament, is also not sure whether it will be able to return home in January. Usually, by this time, K-League teams are already in camps in warmer areas such as Guam and Thailand.

It’s more serious for clubs in China. Of the four representatives, only Beijing Guoan played one game in the group stage. Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai SIPG and Shanghai Shenhua (the first two would normally have real ambitions for the continental title) have to play six group games in 15 days in Qatar. It’ll be ten in 30 when they get to the finals.

It would be difficult for players who have been stuck in hotels in the two Chinese twin cities of Dalian and Suzhou since July for nine months.

The thought of another six weeks in the Middle East and then two weeks of quarantine and further isolation upon returning home is difficult. It could mean that some of the players could go without family members for more than half a year. The prospect of staying in a foreign country for a long time and then going back into quarantine creates some stress behind the scenes.

Japan is the only country where the domestic season continues while the Champions League is thousands of kilometers away.

Initially, the J.league bosses wanted to tell their clubs to forget about Qatar, but Tokyo FC, Vissel Kobe and Yokohama F Marinos are ready to share their squads.

The latter two may have nothing to play at this point, Asian fame would be welcome and, last but not least, the experience could be valuable for younger players.

However, there is no waiting for a possible six weeks in the Middle East at the end of a busy and traumatic year. Sydney is not alone in her troubles.

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