China's Shandong Luneng dropped from Asian Champions League

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Chinese side Shandong Luneng was expelled from the Asian Champions League on Monday for breaching financial rules.

Shandong had outstanding payments, the Asian Football Confederation said.

“It was determined that Shandong Luneng FC had not satisfied the mandatory Criterion F.04 of the AFC Club Licensing Regulations concerning overdue payables and, accordingly, should not have been granted a licence (to participate in the league),” the AFC said in a statement.

The AFC did not elaborate, but Chinese media reported a salary dispute between Shandong and Kevin Stotz, a German who was an assistant to former coach Felix Magath from 2016-17.

Shandong, which includes former Manchester United star Marouane Fellaini, was drawn in Group J with Hong Kong’s Kitchee, Thailand's Port FC, and a playoff qualifier. The league starts in April.

Shandong, which won the Chinese FA Cup last year, last competed in the Asian Champions League in 2019 and reached the round of 16.

The AFC said Shandong’s place will be reallocated to another team.

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The Associated Press