AFC cancels, postpones tournaments due to safety concerns; India’s schedule also affected

Kuala Lumpur: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Monday decided to either cancel or postpone a number of its competitions, also featuring India, keeping in mind the safety of all stakeholders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Indian team was to take part in the next AFC U-16 Championships, which was slated to be held in 2021 after being rescheduled twice last year. A total of 16 teams were to play in the tournament.

“In line with FIFA’s decision to cancel the FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cups in 2021 and taking into consideration the safety and health of Asia’s youth players, the

AFC has reluctantly decided to cancel the AFC U-16 Championship Bahrain 2020 and the AFC U-19 Championship Uzbekistan 2020,” the continental football body said in a release.

The AFC said the next editions of both the competitions will be allocated to the same hosts in 2023.

The U-16 tournament was originally scheduled between 16 September and 3 October, 2020, and then rescheduled between 25 November and 12 December, 2020. It was later announced that the tournament would be postponed to early 2021 due to the pandemic.

AFC general secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “We are grateful for the support of the hosts for these competitions who agreed with the AFC the need to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders during this time of uncertainty and taking into consideration the risks of the current pandemic.”

The AFC also cancelled its Futsal Championship Kuwait 2020 and the AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup Thailand 2021.

Both the Kuwait Football Association and the Football Association of Thailand will host the next editions. Kuwait will stage the AFC Futsal Asian Cup 2022 and Thailand, the AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup 2023.

The AFC has also decided to reschedule the qualifying rounds for the U20 Women’s Asian Cup 2022 and U-17 Women’s Asian Cup 2022.

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