The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has claimed another international sports competition.
In an announcement on Wednesday evening by the Asian Football Confederation’s Executive Committee, the governing body has officially scrapped the resumption of the 2020 AFC Cup.
The reason? It was deemed unfeasible to continue the tournament because of the difficult circumstances of the participating locations.
“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,” read the statement.
Before the tournament halted last March 18, Philippine football’s two representatives — Kaya-Iloilo and United City, formerly known as Ceres-Negros — were in the midst of their group stage campaigns. Both teams had played three matches each.
United City topped Group G over Vietnam’s Than Quang Ninh, Cambodia’s Svay Rieng, and Indonesia’s Bali United with seven points. Its star striker, Bienvenido Maranon, led all scorers in the competition with five goals.
On the other hand, Kaya-Iloilo was in second place in Group H behind Singapore’s Tampines Rovers, but above Indonesia’s PSM Makassar and Myanmar’s Shan United with five points.
Continental competitions such as the AFC Champions League and the AFC Futsal Championship are set to resume within the latter part of the year. Meanwhile, youth tournaments such as the AFC U-16 and AFC U-19 Championships are postponed to 2021.
There are still no details yet regarding how the said governing body plans to hold the 2021 AFC Cup.
For the time being, though, United City, Kaya-Iloilo and other professional Filipino clubs shall look to qualify for it through good performances in the upcoming 2020 season of the Philippines Football League.
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