Shanghai SIPG fly to Doha for Asian Champions League


Shanghai SIPG have travelled to Doha, the capital city of Qatar, where the ACL (Asian Champions League) East Zone will recommence. The competition has been on an indefinite hiatus in East Asia due to the Coronavirus. SIPG have made sure that their players have enough PPE (personal protection equipment) for the trip. 

Hazmat suits, goggles and masks

All the SIPG players who went on the trip to Doha, from Shanghai for the ACL look like they have been issues with hazmat suits, goggles, and masks. The AFC (Asian Football Confederation) published pictures of them arriving in Doha, with the question - 'can you guess the players?'

SIPG star man Oscar was obvious, but the others less so. The Chinese club has gone all out in making sure their players remain free from catching COVID-19 with this approach. They definitely cannot be blamed if any of the squad pick up the virus. 

It begs the question of whether or not the ACL should have just been cancelled or not instead of trying to plough on through the mess that is the Coronavirus. At a time when international travel is being strongly advised against unless of utmost importance, it seems daft that football not only in Asia but also the rest of the world seems determined to crack on with continental tournaments and internationals. 

It is most likely due to being tired into sponsorship and TV deals, either way, it is strange to make clubs travel all over the place at a time like this.  

Shanghai SIPG, the only club in Group H that hasn't played 

As COVID-19 was just beginning to give the world a right old twatting, the AFC was insisting that the show must go on in regards to the ACL. However, with China being the country of the COVID outbreak, and therefore being the first affected, it meant that Chinese sides in the ACL didn't play any fixtures. 

The other 3 teams in their group, Yokohama Marinos, Jeonbuk, and Sydney have all played two games, while SIPG have played zero. This means that during the stay in Doha to complete the group stage, it means that SIPG must have to play six matches in Qatar, while the other sides will only need to play four matches.

This could give a slight advantage to the other sides in the group, because of SIPG needing to play all their games in a short space of time, in a neutral venue, without fans. The new normal is weird indeed, but the integrity of the competition surely must already be questioned because of how mental the schedule is now. 

The AFC only had two choices though, either get the games done and play it or call the show-off. The AFC have decided that the show must go on and that all matches will be played in a neutral venue for the East Zone. So go on it does! 

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