AFC Cup 2020 likely to be cancelled due to Coronavirus pandemic

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The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) might be forced to call off AFC Cup 2020 due to the increasing number of cases in the respective host countries,  Goal  has learnt. 

Although AFC had earlier indicated that marquee competitions, namely the AFC Champions League (ACL), AFC Cup, and the AFC U16  and U19 Championships, which were slated to be hosted at a centralised venue will stick to the schedule, they have been forced to rethink their decision. 

The apex governing body of football in Asia is already mulling over the decision to postpone the AFC U16 Championship to 2021. And now the Competition's Committee is also deliberating whether it would be safer to call off the AFC Cup 2020.

It must be noted that they have already announced their decision to postpone the remaining rounds of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint qualifiers to 2021. 

India's lone representative happens to be Chennai City FC in the AFC Cup. They are drawn in Group E alongside Basundhara Kings (Bangladesh), TC Sports Club, and Maziya Sports and Recreation Club (both from the Maldives). All their remaining group stage matches are slated to be held in the Maldives.

Whereas, Bahrain Football Association, Kuwait Football Association, and Jordan Football Association have been confirmed as the host member associations for the 2020 AFC Cup West Zone matches in Groups A, B, and C respectively. Meanwhile, Vietnam will host Group F & G. 

Many of the participating teams are not being able to practice due to the increase in Coronavirus cases in their respective countries. Even Chennai City is yet to resume training. 

The Maldives, which was to host Group E, has reported 178 new cases on August 26, taking their total tally to 7225. 

Bahrain, Kuwait, and Jordan have reported 317, 698, 40 new cases respectively. Bahrain has over 50,000 total cases and Kuwait is all set to cross the 83,000-mark. Only Vietnam is a bit better off as there were only 5 new cases reported with 1034 total cases to date. 

AFC is keeping a close tab on the Coronavirus situation in all these countries and if the situation does not improve, they will scrap this edition of the AFC Cup.