The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Thursday announced the cancellation of AFC Cup 2020 owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
The competition had been suspended since March due to Covid-19 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 AFC Executive Committee also agreed that the pandemic created complexities which constituted a Force Majeure event and, with sadness, led to the cancellation of the 2020 competition,” AFC said in a statement.
The Executive Committee also agreed that the final of the AFC Champions League will be played in the West Zone on December 19 this year — in a single match rather than in the traditional home and away format.
The AFC Futsal Championship will now be staged in Kuwait but shall be moved from the original dates in November to new dates between December 2-13 to allow member associations time to prepare themselves for the competition.
The AFC Executive Committee recognised that the pandemic has affected the ability of the AFC to deliver its competitions. With this in mind and taking into consideration the need to prioritise the welfare of young players, as well as the travel and health challenges, the AFC U-16 and AFC U-19 Championships, scheduled for Bahrain and Uzbekistan, have been postponed until early 2021.
The AFC Solidarity Cup has also been cancelled because of the Force Majeure event and will now be played in 2024 and the AFC Futsal Club Championship UAE 2020 will be cancelled with the United Arab Emirates hosting the next event in 2021.
“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.”
The 30th AFC Congress scheduled on December 9 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will now be held online