Chennai City, the 2018-19 I-League champions, will play their remaining AFC Cup group stage matches in Maldives with the island nation being given the hosting rights following the continental body’s decision to organise the games in a single venue.

The Asian Football Confederation’s decision, prompted by the rising Covid-19 case count in many countries, was announced by Maldives Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof.

“Congratulations @MaldivesFA on being awarded to host the centralised @AFCCup group E matches. In this crucial stage of the reopening of our borders, we can show that Maldives is a safe destination through this. Expenses will be covered AFC & FAM,” Mahloof tweeted.

Football Association of Maldives (FAM) was the only national federation to have expressed interest in hosting the Group E games that will also involve local sides Maziya, TC Sports and Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings.

The Asian Football Confederation had decided to resume the remaining matches of the AFC Cup, the continent’s second tier club competition, in centralised venues in the five zones from October in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chennai City, which last played on March 14, will resume their campaign when they face TC Sports on October 23.