The Asia Cup T20 tournament scheduled for 2020 has been postponed to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the continental governing body confirmed on Thursday.

Board of Control for Cricket in India president Sourav Ganguly had said on Wednesday that the event has been called off before an official announcement was made. The event, which had Pakistan as original hosts, was scheduled for September with the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka frontrunners to stage the tournament.

Asian Cricket Council confirmed that Sri Lanka will host the event in 2021.

“The Executive Board of the ACC has met on multiple occasions to evaluate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Asia Cup tournament scheduled in September 2020. From the onset the Board was keen on organising the tournament as per the original schedule,” the ACC said.

“However, travel restrictions, country-specific quarantine requirements, fundamental health risks and social distancing mandates have posed as substantial challenges to the holding of the Asia Cup. Above all, the risks related to health and safety of participating players, support staff, commercial partners, fans and the cricketing community were deemed to be significant.

“Accordingly, the Board, after careful consideration of all the above factors, has determined that the Asia Cup 2020 be postponed. Conducting the event in a responsible manner remains the priority of the ACC and the Board is hopeful that the tournament will be held in 2021. The ACC is currently working towards securing June 2021 as a suitable window for the same,” the statement added.

ACC also confirmed that Pakistan Cricket Board has exchanged hosting rights for the tournament with Sri Lanka Cricket. “Through this arrangement, the SLC will now host the rescheduled Asia Cup expected in June 2021 while the PCB will host the Asia Cup 2022,” the board said in the release.

A day before the official announcement came, Ganguly had said the tournament was a no-go for this year.

“Asia Cup has been cancelled. It was due in September,” Ganguly, who turned 48 on Wednesday, said in an instagram chat with an Indian television station.

PCB chief executive Wasim Khan had said last month the Asia Cup would go ahead as scheduled in either Sri Lanka or the UAE. The tournament was not to be held in Pakistan due to India’s refusal to tour the country over political tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

The International Cricket Council this month will also decide on the future of the T20 World Cup, which is scheduled for October-November in Australia.

If these tournaments are scrapped, it will likely pave the way for this season’s lucrative Indian Premier League – which was postponed amid the nationwide lockdown – to find new dates.

“We don’t know when will IPL happen because it is difficult to get a window,” said Ganguly.

“ICC is trying that World T20 takes place in October. Because ICC generates a lot of revenue from this. Till the time we get clear cut directions from ICC we cannot talk about IPL. Because we don’t have a window as we travel to Australia in December.”

(With AFP inputs)