<
>

A-League clubs Sydney FC, Melbourne City, Brisbane Roar withdraw from AFC Champions League

Melbourne City won their first A-League premiership in 2020-21. Kelly Defina/Getty Images

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Football Australia has withdrawn Sydney FC, Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar from the 2021 AFC Champions League, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Friday.

"The matter will now be referred to the relevant AFC committees, with a decision to be communicated in due course," the AFC said in a statement.

The AFC did not give a reason for the withdrawals but Australian Professional Leagues (APL) announced earlier on Friday that it had had to extend the A-League Finals Series due to COVID restrictions in Victoria.

With the teams comprising the top six now settled and just a handful of games to play in the home-and-away season, APL announced that the final outstanding game of the A-League 2020/21 season -- Melbourne City FC vs. Newcastle Jets -- would be played after this weekend's scheduled final round of games due to the lockdown in Victoria.

APL hence had to extend the dates for the finals series to the following three weekends, and those dates clash with the AFC's schedule.

Roar were due to play a preliminary round ACL match against Kaya F.C.-Iloilo from the Philippines on June 20, with Melbourne City to play Cezero Osaka of Japan the following day.

Sydney FC were to play South Korea's Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on June 25.