The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have announced on Monday that they’ve come to a decision to expel 2020 Chinese FA Cup winners Shandong Taishan out of the 2021 AFC Champions League. The decision was made due to Shandong owing overdue payment to a former club staff.
The AFC Independent Entry Control Body have withdrawn Shandong’s ACL license on Monday, with the club being subject to an investigation by the IECB during the 2021 ACL group stage draw in late January. The investigation determined that Shandong have failed to satisfy the mandatory Criterion F.04 of the AFC Club Licensing Regulations (Edition 2016) concerning overdue payables, which meant that they are no longer qualified to participate in this year’s ACL.
According to Titan Sports Plus, Shandong are reportedly in a payment dispute with Wolfgang Rolff, an assistant coach that had worked at the club alongside then-head coach Felix Magath. The case had been brought to the attention of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), however Shandong have failed to respond to a decision made by CAS in due time.
Titan Sports Plus have also reported that Shandong were unaware of their ejection from this year’s ACL before Monday’s announcement by the AFC and the men in orange are set to file an appeal.
Prior to their expulsion, Shandong were set to play in Group H of the 2021 ACL alongside Thai League 1 side Port FC, Kitchee FC of Hong Kong, and a play-off winner between Cerezo Osaka of the J.League 1, Melbourne City of the A-League, and Shan United of Myanmar.
Should the AFC uphold their decision to expel Shandong, their spot in Group H will be replaced by Beijing Sinobo Guoan, while Beijing’s spot in the qualifying play-offs will be occupied by Shanghai Port (formerly Shanghai SIPG), who finished 4th in the 2020 Chinese Super League.