JDT strike AFC Cup lottery

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Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) will play in the AFC Cup final after FIFA suspended the Kuwait FA (KFA) for government interference. The decision puts JDT on course for their biggest game ever…

The Malaysia Super League (MSL) side trail Kuwait’s Qadsia SC 3-1 from the first leg and were suppose to welcome the club at the Larkin Stadium on Tuesday, but the match will not take place after FIFA placed a blanket ban on Kuwaiti football.

The "with immediate effect" suspension comes after KFA failed to make changes to sporting law within the country.

In September, FIFA voiced concerns of the government’s level of influence with the organisation under a new sporting law.

The FIFA statement on Friday also expressly said: “no team from Kuwait of any sort (including clubs) can have any international sporting contact (art. 14 par. 3 of the FIFA Statutes), and neither the KFA nor any of its members or officials can benefit from any development programme, course or training from FIFA or the AFC.”

This means Qadsia will not be able to take the field next week unless drastic changes in Kuwait’s sports law takes place before Tuesday. It will then be a race against time to lift the FIFA ban and hope arrangements could still be made for the match to take place.

Looking at the number of days left, JDT – who have already made Malaysian history by reaching the last four – may well already start planning for the final on October 31.

JDT will likely face Istiklol of Tajikistan after the other semi-final was called off too. Kuwait SC defeated Istiklol 4-0 in the first leg but will be unable to progress further in the competition if the ban is upheld.

“Both Kuwaiti clubs will not be able to further in the AFC Cup competition due to the ban,” AFC acting general secretary Datuk Windsor John said. “We have referred the matter to the AFC competitions committee for decision. Both semi-finals will be cancelled pending further decision.”