Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President, has expressed his support for all the communities who are battling to control and recover from the COVID-19 outbreak.
With more than half the AFC’s Member Association’s being located where the virus has been detected, the AFC President said: “These are unprecedented and challenging times for everyone in these societies. My heartfelt sympathies and my total support are extended to them- not just in Asia but worldwide.
“In these circumstances, we will ensure that the health and safety of the football family and fans is paramount and that is the clear message from the AFC. As the AFC Medical Committee said yesterday in Colombo, Sri Lanka, personal hygiene is crucial as following World Health Organisation (WHO) advice.”
Shaikh Salman added: “The AFC will not put anyone at risk during these times of heightened health concerns and so we have taken some sensible decisions to postpone both matches and events.
“The AFC hopes that there is a quick and safe end to this current situation and that we can return to normality where football can play a role in bringing some joy and entertainment to people’s lives. In the meantime, I have instructed the AFC Administration to continue monitoring the spread of the virus and to take the appropriate and immediate action needed to protect the football family and fans.”
The AFC has already postponed matches in the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup – in both the West and East Zones – as well as Women’s Olympic Qualifying Play-off games. The AFC Congress, scheduled for Kuala Lumpur on April 16, 2020, has also been postponed to a later date.
On Monday, the AFC will also hold its second emergency meeting in Kuala Lumpur to discuss National and Club Competitions matches, and a West Zone meeting will be held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on March 7, 2020.