The ASEAN Football Federation on Thursday announced the postponement of the Suzuki Cup to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Considered the biggest football tournament in Southeast Asia, the Suzuki Cup was supposed to be held late this year but the ongoing crisis left the AFF no choice but put the biennial tournament on hold.
“Since the onset of COVID-19, the AFF has been closely monitoring guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), Health Ministries, government agencies, FIFA and AFC,” said AFF President Khiev Sameth.
“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.”
“While these are unprecedented times for the whole world including our football family and communities, we are confident that we will get through it together with the support of all our stakeholders including our fans, Member Associations, players, coaches, official, media and partners and we would like to thank them for standing united with us in the fight against COVID-19,” added the official from Cambodia.
The Suzuki Cup is held every two years in even years, with Vietnam winning the last edition in 2018.
The Philippine Azkals, who gained prominence when they beat Vietnam on its home turf in the 2010 group stage, have made the semis in four of the last five editions of the AFF Championship.
The AFF said that 750,000 people were able to attend the 2018 edition which implemented a home-and-away format for the first time in the history of the competition.
That is why the AFF would rather prioritize safety than staging the event this year.
“The risks and challenges in organizing a mass event of this scale would be considerable in the current climate,” the AFF said.