AFC Champions League: AIFF likely to bid to host FC Goa's group

Alexander Jesuraj Romario FC Goa
FC Goa have been drawn alongside the likes of Iran's Persepolis and Qatar's Al-Rayyan in Group E...

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is likely to place a bid to host the games in Group E (West Zone) of the AFC Champions League (ACL), Goal has learnt. The invitation for the bid is expected soon and the India FA is set to throw their hat into the ring. 

FC Goa, who will be the first Indian club to play in the group stages of the ACL, has been drawn alongside the likes of Iran's Persepolis and Qatar's Al-Rayyan in Group E. 

UAE's Al-Wahda FC and Iraq's Al-Zawraa SC will lock horns in the play-off West 4 qualifying match and the winner of the tie will be the fourth team in Group 'E'.

Persepolis have qualified for the ACL this season by virtue of winning the Persian Pro League 2019-20 season. Al Rayyan, on the other hand, finished second in the Qatar Stars League last season and made it to the ACL.

The move will be beneficial for the Gaurs who are currently in a bio-bubble in Goa for the ongoing 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) season. The club, who is set to make history, with their participation in the continental competition, should be more confident with 'home advantage' added to the arsenal. 

Following the draw for the tournament on Wednesday, Ferrando had said, "It is very difficult (to shift from one bio-bubble to another) but there is no other way. It is necessary to protect the players. I am not so upset because ultimately we are playing in the group stage of the Champions League. Of course, we are away in our rooms, away from family but in the end, we are here to prepare a history for FC Goa."

All AFC club competitions will be held at a centralised venue this season. While the ACL group stage West Region matches will be played between April 14-30, 2021, the East Region games are planned between April 21-May 7.

The ACL knockout matches in the Round of 16 are scheduled for September 13-15 and the quarter-finals on September 27-29. Both rounds will be played as single knockout games. The AFC Champions League semi-finals will be over two legs on October 19-20 and 26-27. The ACL will witness a two-legged final on November 21 and 27.