Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng football club’s upcoming game against Than Quang Ninh FC in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2020 has become the latest casualty of the health crisis brought about by the coronavirus outbreak.
The AFC announced yesterday that it has decided to postpone all AFC Cup 2020 matches until further notice.
“Following the imposition of further preventive measures and travel restrictions by several national governments due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has decided today to postpone all AFC Cup 2020 matches until further notice,” the announcement published on the AFC website said.
“The decision, which was also made in conjunction with the competing clubs and their respective Member Associations, is a precautionary measure to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all participating players and teams, match officials and spectators, as well as being designed to protect the integrity of the competition,” it added.
The announcement covers all matches between March and April across the five tournament zones (Central Asia, South Asia, Asean, East Asia and West Asia ).The governing body for Asian football said it will closely monitor the situation before deciding when to resume the tournament.
The repeat match between the two teams was initially scheduled to be held at Cua Ong Stadium in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam, on April 15.
The first match between the Southeast Asian rivals was held at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on March 11. Than Quang Ninh FC beat the home team, 4-1. That match was held despite the worsening health crisis that is affecting Cambodia and other parts of the world.
Before the latest AFC announcement, it appeared that the second match between Than Quang Ninh FC and PKR Svay Rieng FC will push through as scheduled.
Than Quang Ninh FC is at solo second in Group G, while PKR Svay Rieng FC occupies the third spot, just above cellar-dweller Bali United FC. Ceres-Negros FC of the Philippines is leading the Group.
The escalating coronavirus outbreak is leading to the cancellation or postponement of many football tournaments, not only in Asia, but also in other parts of the world.
These include the Asia leg of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, which also affected Cambodia with the postponement of its upcoming matches against Iran, Bahrain and Iraq.
Many of the local football leagues in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia have been temporarily suspended because of the outbreak.
In Europe, the English Premier League in the UK, Bundesliga in Germany and Serie A in Italy are among the leading football tournaments that have been temporarily halted by the health crisis. Football leagues in South America, Africa and North America have likewise been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.