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Coronavirus: AFC calls emergency meeting on ACL schedules

02/02/2020 10:32 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2  -- The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has called for an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of rescheduling matches in its top tier club competition, the AFC Champions League (ACL), amid the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak.

The East-Zone group stage matches are scheduled to be played on Feb 11 and 12, but travel restrictions and growing health concerns due to the deadly virus could force AFC to postpone the dates among other options.

The meeting scheduled at the AFC headquarters here will involve all key stakeholders, namely member associations, leagues, clubs and commercial agencies participating in the ACL.

“The meeting will discuss the impact of various government travel restrictions following the outbreak of the coronavirus and its classification by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a global health emergency.

“As the governing body for football in Asia, AFC is determined to protect the competition and make proper and appropriate plans, including but not limited to the rescheduling of matches in the East Zone,” the confederation said in a statement, today.

Earlier, media reports stated that the Football Federation Australia had informed AFC that the first group stage matches scheduled in Perth and Sydney could not be played due to travel restrictions in the country following the outbreak.

Perth Glory was supposed to host Shanghai Shenhua on Feb 11, while Sydney FC was to play Shanghai SIPG a day later.

Six-time Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim, are the only Malaysian representatives in Asia’s most prestigious tournament and have been drawn in Group G with Japanese outfit Vissel Kobe, Suwon Samsung Bluewings of South Korea and China’s Guangzhou Evergrande FC.

The Southern Tigers are slated to kick off their campaign against Vissel Kobe at the Misaki Park Stadium, Kobe on Feb 12, while Suwon Samsung Bluewings are supposed to host Guangzhou Evergrande FC at the Suwon World Cup Stadium on the same day.

A number of sporting events, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifiers have been cancelled and postponed due to the virus outbreak so far.



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