Six-time Bangladesh Premier League champions Abahani lost their right to take part in the preliminary stage of AFC Cup due to Covid-19 situation and travel restriction in Bangladesh.
"Taking into careful consideration the exceptional circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular the lockdown and travel restrictions in Bangladesh, the (AFC Covid-19) sub-committee decided that Abahani Limited Dhaka are considered to have withdrawn from the AFC Cup 2021 and that the situation constituted an event of force majeure," an AFC press release said on Friday.
The website also informed that the sub-committee also agreed to award the playoff stage slot to Club Eagles, who will face India's Bengaluru FC for a place in the AFC Cup Group D on May 11, 2021 in Maldives, three days before the start of the group matches where Bashundhara Kings from Bangladesh will play directly.
Abahani were originally scheduled to host Club Eagles on April 14 but the countrywide lockdown forced them to look for a neutral venue. The Dhanmondi outfit chose Kathmandu as host for the match on April 21, but extended flight restrictions meant they could not avail that opportunity.
Later, AFC asked Abahani whether they could host Club Eagles in India but travel restrictions was one of the major hindrances for Abahani, who lastly attempted to host Eagles between May 5 and 7 in Dhaka, which too did not materialise due to the extension of travel restrictions.