Johor Darul Ta'zim's (JDT) AFC Champions League campaign is in jeopardy after Malaysian Minister of Defense Ismail Sabri confirmed they would not be allowed to travel to Doha, Qatar.
This came as a second blow for the seven-time Malaysian Super League champions in the past few days as the Council also disallowed the Malaysia Cup to proceed, which should all but cancel the tournament.
"Our policy regarding our borders is unchanged. It means foreigners cannot come [into the country] and our rakyat cannot travel abroad. This applies to everyone including footballers.
"We don't permit [their travel] based on the existing SOP. Even ministers aren't allowed to go overseas for key meetings involving other countries.
"We also do not know about the SOP of other countries," Ismail said during Wednesday's National Security Council briefing.
After being interrupted by COVID-19, the AFC competition involving Eastern teams was scheduled to be played there between November 18 and December 13.
The final would take place on December 19 at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar.
In response, JDT confirmed they would adhere to the ruling.
"While JDT are extremely disappointed in not being able to participate in Asia's highest club competition and the Malaysia Cup, we respect the decision by the Malaysian Government and understand that such safety measures need to be enforced due to the rising cases of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The well-being of everyone — including the JDT squad that would have travelled to Doha — is a priority. We pray and hope that the world can overcome the pandemic ahead of the 2021 season," said JDT technical director Alistair Edwards.
Johor Darul Ta'zim FC (JDT) have been informed by the National Security Council (NSC) that we will not be given permission to travel to Doha, Qatar for the 2020 AFC Champions League (ACL).— JOHORSouthernTigers (@OfficialJohor) November 11, 2020