AFC calls urgent meetings as Covid-19 eats into match schedules

February 27 – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is to hold further emergency meetings with its stakeholders to discuss the spread of the coronavirus

Earlier this month the AFC called an urgent session of member associations, leagues, clubs and commercial parties participating in the East Zone of the AFC Champions League and has now scheduled further summits to discuss the possible impact on World Cup and Olympic qualifiers.

Six more matches in the Asian Champions League were confirmed postponed on Thursday including five featuring clubs from Iran.

“These are unprecedented and challenging times, but the AFC is working tirelessly to monitor the situation, including the various travel restrictions, while being in constant contact with our member associations, leagues and clubs,” said AFC general secretary Windsor John.

“We are grateful for the support we have received from all our stakeholders, including our commercial and broadcast partners and agencies, as we try to protect the safety and well-being of all our players, officials and spectators while also ensuring the integrity of the competitions.”

The Asian Champions League has already been severely affected by the outbreak, with all matches involving Chinese teams in the first three rounds played away as a protective measure.

On Thursday, the United Arab Emirates Football Association announced Shabab Al Ahli Dubai’s meeting with Shahr Khodro and Al Wahda’s clash with Esteghlal – both from Iran – would be postponed.

Games involving two other Iranian clubs – Persepolis’ encounter with Saudi Arabia’s Al Taawon and both of the meetings between Sepahan and Al Nassr, also from Saudi Arabia – have also been called off, the AFC confirmed.

The meeting to discuss the East Zone will be held in Kuala Lumpur on Monday and the West Zone on March 7 and 8.

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