— Published 5 September 2023

Iran and Saudi Arabia back on track

The parenthesis is closed. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Monday September 4 that Saudi Arabian and Iranian clubs will resume their confrontations on opposing grounds, rather than on neutral ground as they had been doing for the past seven years. The Iranian and Saudi soccer federations have reached an agreement to end an arrangement devised by the AFC in 2016, after relations between the two countries broke down following the attack on Saudi diplomatic missions by Islamic Republic protesters. Matches in the Asian Champions League, due to kick off in mid-September, will therefore be played in the classic format in both countries. Saudi club Al Nassr, home of Cristiano Ronaldo, will be able to visit Persepolis in Tehran on September 19. The day before, Al-Ittihad, another Saudi club (pictured above), will host Iranian outfit Sepahan. Iran and Saudi Arabia re-established diplomatic ties this year, as part of an agreement reached in March under the auspices of China.