Asian Football Confederation cancels AFC Cup due to Covid-19

KUALA LUMPUR: This year’s edition of the AFC Cup, Asia’s second-tier club competition, has been cancelled amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the continent’s governing body for football said in a statement on Thursday.

The competition, in which teams from more minor nations in Asia participate, had been suspended since March due to the novel coronavirus crisis and was originally scheduled to resume this month in centralised venues.

“In view of the logistics in coordinating the five zones of the AFC Cup and completing the Inter-Zone matches, the Executive Committee agreed that the pandemic created complexities which constituted a force majeure event and led to the cancellation of the 2020 competition,” the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said.

The AFC Champions League, the continent’s showpiece competition, has also been suspended since March but will resume in West Asia hub Qatar on Sept 14.

East Zone matches are scheduled to be played between Nov 15 and Dec 13, 2020.

The final will be played in the West Zone on Dec 19 as a standalone game rather than in the traditional home and away format.

The AFC Futsal Championship has been pushed back by a month to December, while the AFC Solidarity Cup and AFC Futsal Club Championship UAE 2020 have been cancelled.

“These are tough times for everyone connected with football. We are taking steps to ensure the financial well-being of the AFC and its member associations,” AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said.

“I am certain that with the unity and solidarity for which the AFC has become admired across football, we can overcome this latest challenge.”