Despite optimistic plans that had been voiced in the past months, the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) on Thursday announced that the 2020 AFF Championship, or the AFF Suzuki Cup, will not be held this year after all.
In a press statement issued by the competition's exclusive commercial partner Sportfive, the federation chief explained its decision.
“Since the onset of Covid-19, the AFF has been closely monitoring guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), health ministries, government agencies, FIFA and AFC.
“As you are aware, this pandemic continues to pose enormous health, societal and economic challenges to us all. AFF's top priority continues to be the health and safety of our football family and mitigating the impact of this pandemic. With the risk of the spread of Covid-19 remaining high, the AFF finds itself in a situation where we cannot proceed safely with the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020.”
“While these are unprecedented times for the whole world including our football family and communities, we are confident that we will get through it together with the support of all our stakeholders, including our fans, member associations, players, coaches, official, media and partners. We would like to thank them for standing united with us in the fight against Covid-19,” wrote the AFF president, Khiev Sameth.
The statement did not specify time of the year the competition is planned to be held.
Around two months earlier, the Vietnamese FA voiced its willingness to host the 2020 edition from start to finish, due to the fact that the impact of the pandemic on the country had been less severe than what had been faced by the other countries in the region. When domestic football returned in Vietnam, matches did not have to be held behind closer doors.
However, earlier this week, new cases surfaced in several regions of the country, and the Vietnamese league had to undergo another suspension.