The showpiece event in Southeast Asian football will go on in it’s original schedule according to Asean Football Federation (AFF).
The outbreak of the coronavirus of Covid-19 has completely wrecked the football schedule in Malaysia, Southeast Asia, Asia as well as the rest of the world with most countries implementing some form of lockdown and border control in order to stifle and contain the spread of the virus.
Individually, each country is expected to recover but the pace will be different from one to another depending on the measures taken by the respective governments and the cooperation received from the public. If and when the situation improves, the domestic football calendar will have to be redrawn.
AFF’s have reiterated in their statement that the 2020 AFF Championship or Suzuki Cup will still be played in November as originally planned. Which means there won’t be any extension to the domestic season and whatever fixtures that has been postponend in this 1-3 months period will have to be completed before that.
AFF President Major General Khiev Sameth is confident that his team is on top of the all the situations and in putting such a statement, he and AFF would probably have received assurances from the respective Football Associations within the region that the onus will be on them to adjust the domestic calendar accordingly.
“As the situation is constantly evolving, we will keep a close watch and will not hesitate to make changes to our schedule if necessary. In every decision we make, AFF will always prioritize the well-being of our football family and communities,” said Khiev in his statement.
Coronavirus also put paid to the hopes of starting the Asean Club Championship (ACC) in 2020. The initial plan was to play the competition starting April-May period but circumstances have dictated otherwise. With the respective associations scrambling to readjust their domestic schedule, there’s unlikely to be any available slots for ACC to be played.
Add in the international dates to the congestion and AFF were left with no option but to defer the start of the tournament to 2021. Other competitions that will be moved to a later yet to be determined date includes the AFF U16 Championship and AFF U19 Championship, both supposed to be held in Indonesia in July and August respectively.
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