This year's AFF Suzuki Cup postponed to 2021
This year's Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup will be postponed to 2021 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has gone unabated regionally and globally.
The AFF announced the decision on Thursday (July 30), citing the health and safety of players, coaches, partners, fans and the public as the priority.
“Since the onset of Covid-19, the AFF has been closely monitoring guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO), health ministries, government agencies, Fifa and AFC (Asian Football Confederation),” said AFF president Khiev Sameth in a media statement.
“As you are aware, this pandemic continues to pose enormous health, societal and economic challenges to us all. AFF’s top priority continues to be the health and safety of our football family and mitigating the impact of this pandemic. With the risk of the spread of Covid-19 remaining high, the AFF finds itself in a situation where we cannot proceed safely with the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020."
It would be challenging to organise the biennial championship, which was won by Vietnam in 2018, in the current climate as countries have implemented travel bans and quarantines to curb the spread of the virus.
It remains to be seen when these measures will be lifted due to the rapidly evolving situation. For instance, locally transmitted cases were detected in Vietnam last week, more than three months after the last reported cases.
Separately, the AFC announced that Vietnam has been selected as a centralised host for two AFC Cup groups in the South-east Asian zone from Sept 23 to 29.
Group F matches, involving Singapore's Hougang United, Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City, Myanmar's Yangon United and Laos' Lao Toyota, will take place at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City.
Group G's ties will be staged in Quang Ninh’s Cam Pha Stadium. The teams involved are Ceres Negros (the Philippines), Than Quang Ninh (Vietnam), Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng (Cambodia) and Bali United (Indonesia).
The host for Group H, which comprises Singapore’s Tampines Rovers, Kaya FC-Iloilo (the Philippines), PSM Makassar (Indonesia) and Shan United (Myanmar), has yet to be confirmed.
Maldives is the centralised venue in South Asia for Group E matches, which will take place from Oct 23 to Nov 4.