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Raging health crisis leads to postponement of MCL 2020

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The MCL 2020 is among the last football leagues in Southeast Asia to suspend their games. KT/Yeun Punleau

After dilly-dallying for days, the organisers of the Metfone Cambodian League 2020 have finally decided to temporarily postpone its scheduled matches amidst the raging COVID-19 health crisis affecting Cambodia and many other countries around the globe.

The notice to postpone MCL 2020 matches was posted on the League’s official Facebook page the other day. Prior to the announcement, the MCL 2020 was one of the very few sports events that have not suspended their games amidst the escalating pandemic.

“The Football Federation of Cambodia would like to inform the public that the Metfone Cambodian League 2020 will be temporarily suspended,” the first part of the announcement read.

The temporary stoppage of games will be for more than one month, including the two-week break following the FIFA International Match Calendar or FIFA Day, which sets five windows where leagues may suspend games to allow players to play for the national team in official and friendly matches.

The temporary suspension, according to the announcement, follows concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

Per the updated schedule for the MCL 2020, games will only resume on April 25.

Organisers of Cambodia’s premier football league made the decision days after most of the major football leagues across Southeast Asia temporarily postponed their matches because of the outbreak.

A check of the top-flight football leagues across the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos shows that most, if not all of the competitions, have been temporarily stopped because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Thailand was the first country in the region to address the issue, deciding early this month to suspend all football leagues, including the top-flight Thai League 1.

The Philippines and Malaysia were the next to act. The Football Association of Malaysia announced last week that it is suspending all football competitions, including the top division Malaysia Super League, after the completion of the matches over the weekend.

The Philippines Football League, for its part, announced last week that it will reschedule the start of the new season from March 21 to the tentative date of April 18.

Indonesia followed a few days later, with the announcement that Liga 1 and Liga 2 games will be suspended for at least two weeks, pending the resolution of the global health crisis. In Vietnam, the V. League 1, the country’s leading football league, suspended its games after two rounds with plans to resume next month.

Tran Anh Tu, chairman and general director of Vietnam Football Joint Stock Company, was quoted as saying by VnExpress International that they decided to cancel league matches during the rest of March to ensure safety.

While Singapore has yet to suspend the Singapore Premier League, games will be played behind closed doors, according to international media reports.

In the region, only the Myanmar National League and Lao Premier League, the premier professional football leagues in Myanmar and Laos, have yet to announce suspension of games. So far, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Laos and Myanmar.

In Cambodia, 53 persons are being treated after testing positive for COVID-19.

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