AFC Cup matches scheduled for Maldives hub postponed ‘until further notice’
The Asian Football Confederation has indefinitely postponed AFC Cup group matches set to take place in the Maldives after a new wave of COVID-19 cases across the continent.
The AFC said the Group D South matches, which were scheduled to take place in capital city Malé between 14th and 21st May, have been postponed “until further notice”.
Sunday (9th May) saw the Indian Ocean nation - which has a population of just over 500,000 people record over 1,000 daily cases for the first time since the Coronavirus pandemic began.
In a statement, the AFC said that all participating clubs which have travelled to the Maldives will be required to organise their own travel home, while “adhering to the COVID-19 health and travel protocols put in place by the country”.
The AFC added it was in touch with all clubs which have not yet made the trip to cancel their travel arrangements.
Four teams were expected participate in the group games, including ATK Mohun Bagan from India; Bashundhara Kings from Bangladesh; Maziya from the Maldives; and the winner of the South Asia Zone playoff.
The next stage of the tournament, the first leg of the Zonal Final between the south, central and eastern hubs, will take place on 11th August with the second leg on 25th August.
Last month, the AFC rescheduled some group stage matches for the AFC Cup 2021, due to a potential fixture clash with the AFC Champions League East playoff.
Matches for the Asean Zone Groups, originally planned for between 22nd and 28th June, will see Group H matches take place between 29th June and 5th July, while Group I fixtures have been scheduled for 30th June to 5th July.
Two-leg West Zone semi-finals will be played on 13th and 14th and 27th and 28th September, and a two-leg West Zone final on 20th October and 3rd November. Asean Zone semi-finals will take place on 10th and 11th August over a single leg, followed by a single-leg final on 25th August.
Last week, the majority of Australian cricketers from the Indian Premier League flew to the Maldives and are set to remain there until the travel ban between India and Australia has been lifted, despite rising cases in the country.
IPL will not resume in India
Sourav Ganguly, President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, has stated that the suspended Indian Premier League will not be resumed in India.
Speaking to Sportstar, Ganguly said that the competition “can’t happen in India”, adding that it is too early to find a suitable slot to complete the remaining 31 games of the IPL.
The IPL was suspended on 4th May after a growing number of staff and players tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, which continues to afflict the nation.
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