AFC Cup scrapped as Covid-19 shows no signs of receding

By Lam Thoa   September 10, 2020 | 09:07 pm PT
AFC Cup scrapped as Covid-19 shows no signs of receding
HCMC FC (in white) in their AFC Cup match against Lao Toyota FC on March 10, 2020. Photo courtesy of AFC.
The 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup has been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the continent's governing body announced on Thursday.

This year's edition of the event, the second most important club tournament in Asia, was originally scheduled to start in March and then postponed to this month due to the pandemic.

Vietnam had two qualifiers.

Ho Chi Minh City FC in group F were supposed to have played on September 23 at their Thong Nhat Stadium, and Than Quang Ninh in group G, on September 29 at their Cam Pha Stadium in the northern Quang Ninh Province.

After having played all their three away matches, Ho Chi Minh City FC were on top of the group with seven points along with Myanmar’s Yangon United, and had a good chance of advancing.

Than Quang Ninh were second with four points, three adrift of the Philippines’s Ceres Negros. But with three home matches in hand, the club still had a fair chance of going through.

"Canceling the 2020 AFC Cup is a reasonable decision," Tran Quoc Tuan, Vietnam Football Federation vice president and standing member, and head of the AFC Competition Board, said.

Covid-19 has infected more than 28 million people around the world, claiming nearly 914,000 lives. Many cities in Asia have seen the resurgence of the coronavirus in recent weeks.

AFC also decided to postpone the AFC U19 Championship to early next year. It was scheduled to be held in Uzbekistan from October 14 to 31 with Vietnam in group C along with Saudi Arabia, Australia and Laos.

Asia’s premier club event, the AFC Champions League, will see the remaining West Zone matches begin in Qatar on September 14 and the final played on December 19 in a standalone format rather than the traditional home-and-away format.

East Zone matches are scheduled to be played between November 15 and December 13, but the venues have not been announced.

Earlier this year Ho Chi Minh City FC lost to Thailand’s Buriram United in the second qualifying round of the Champions League.

As previously reported, Vietnam's national team will not be playing in any tournaments this year.

FIFA and the AFC have decided to move all 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Asia to next year. Vietnam next play Malaysia in March.

The ASEAN Football Federation has also decided to move the AFF Cup to April next year.

go to top