Saudi Arabia clubs refuse to to travel to Iran for ACL

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’s soccer federation says its clubs will not play Asian Champions League matches in amid rising diplomatic tension.

The decision at a SAFF executive meeting on Thursday comes days after individual clubs refused to travel to Iran for safety reasons.

Two Saudi clubs are already scheduled to play in Iran and a playoff round could create two more matches there.

Sporting tensions increased days before the countries’ national under-23 teams begin the 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament in Qatar.

On Thursday, the Saudi soccer body said it awaited an Asian Football Confederation response to its request to order matches for its clubs in Iran to be moved to neutral countries.

In Group C, Tractorsazi Tabriz of Iran are set to host Saudi club Al Hilal on February 24. One week later, Zobahan are due to host Al-Nassr in a Group B match.

In preliminary round playoffs, Saudi club Al Ittihad can advance into a group with Sepahan of Iran, and Naft Tehran will be grouped with Al Ahli if they win.

An AFC spokesman said on Thursday they were “monitoring the situation.”

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