Al Hilal have slammed the Asian Football Confederation for its “inflexibility” after the reigning champion was kicked out of Asian Champions League because it was only able to muster 11 players for its final Group B fixture.

The Saudi club, which had already qualified for the last 16, said it had been determined to defend its title despite 30 players and staff becoming infected by COVID-19 in the Qatar hub where Asia’s premier club competition resumed last week.

“The board of directors … sought to work on a number of methods that preserve Al Hilal’s right to compete without any disorder to the tournament,” the Riyadh-based club said in a statement.

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“All these requests were rejected by the AFC, in spite of facing compelling circumstances that require greater flexibility from the AFC in assessing the situation.”

Among the…

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