Saudi Arabia is looking to host the AFC Champions League knockout stages in the West zone, according to Qatari newspaper Al Raya.
The Asian football’s governing body confirmed earlier in the month that the knockout phase – from the quarterfinals onward – of the Asian elite clubs’ competition will be decided through single-leg ties, held in a centralized venue for the East and West regions respectively, due to issues related to “the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the ongoing travel restrictions imposed across the continent.”
Both last-eight and semifinal rounds will be concluded in the space of five days – October 16-20.
The AFC also announced the final showpiece of the tournament will be held on November 23 in West region, and the bidding process for the host city of the final would be open to the participating member associations.
Iran will be represented by Persepolis, Tractor, and Esteghlal in the round of 16.
Persepolis will play away to Istiklol Tajikistan, while Esteghlal and Tractor will take on Saudi sides Al Hilal and Al Nassr respectively.
Esteghlal and Al Nassr – initially picked as the hosts of the ties – have been told by the AFC to name neutral venues for their fixtures, and reports have suggested that Dubai and Doha will host the matches in mid-September.
Political tensions between the two Persian Gulf states had seen Iranian and Saudi clubs squaring off in a third country since 2016, before Esteghlal and Foolad Khuzestan flew to Saudi Arabia in April to play their centralized group fixtures of the ACL in Jeddah and Riyadh.