The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of this year’s AFC Cup, the Asian Football Confederation announced Thursday.
Logistical issues caused by the pandemic left the AFC Executive Committee with no choice but to abruptly end the continent’s second-tier cup competition.
“In view of the logistics in coordinating the five zones of the AFC Cup and completing the Inter Zone matches, the AFC Executive Committee also agreed that the pandemic created complexities which constituted a Force Majeure event and, with sadness, led to the cancellation of the 2020 competition,” the AFC said.
The AFC had been planning to resume the competition’s group stage matches in centralized venues, with Vietnam eyed as a location for Group G where United City is bracketed.
But Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta said a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country prompted the Vietnam Football Federation to forego its plan to host those matches.
There’s also difficulty in finding a venue for Group H, the group of the Philippines’ other representative Kaya-Iloilo.
AFC Cup matches were suspended in mid-March as the pandemic forced nations including the Philippines to implement quarantine measures.
Prior to the suspension, United City was still known as Ceres-Negros, which held the lead in Group G with seven points, three clear of Vietnam’s Than Quang Ninh.
Kaya, meanwhile, was second in Group H with five points, two behind Singapore’s Tampines Rovers.