The Asian Football Confederation’s Executive Committee on Thursday decided to cancel the 2020 edition of the AFC Cup.
The decision will be a blow to Indian side Chennai City FC, who were set to make their first-ever appearance in the competition having won the 2018-’19 I-League.
“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 in a statement on their website.
“These are tough times for everyone connected with football – and sport in general. We are taking steps to ensure the financial well-being of the AFC and its MAs,” Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the AFC president said.
“I am certain that with the unity and solidarity for which the AFC has become admired across football, we can overcome this latest challenge,” he added.
The playoff rounds of this year’s edition were completed with the group stage where India’s Bengaluru FC suffered a shock exit at the hands of Maldives’ Maziya.
However, Chennai City FC who had directly qualified for the group stage of the competition will now miss out due to the cancellation of the competition. The group stage matches scheduled for March were postponed, but the logistics problems led to AFC coming to a conclusion to cancel the competition for this year.
The AFC Champions League, however, will take place with the East zone and West zone matches scheduled to take place in November and December respectively.
The final of the competition will be played in the west zone on December 19 as an one-off tie rather than the traditional home and away format.