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ACL East Zone matches postponed to November

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced updates to its 2020 competition calendar on Thursday, aiming to overcome difficulties caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Among changes are the AFC Champions League East Zone matches, which had been planned to restart in Mid-October, are now scheduled to be played between November 15 and December 13, AFC said after its Executive Committee meeting.

The final of the AFC Champions League being played in the West Zone on Dec. 19 in a single match rather than in the traditional home and away format.

“The AFC Executive Committee recognized that the pandemic has affected the ability of the AFC to deliver its competitions,” the Asian football governing body said in a statement.

“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,” it said.

Additionally, the AFC U-16 and AFC U-19 Championships, scheduled for Bahrain and Uzbekistan this year, have been postponed to early 2021.

The challenges presented by the COVID-19 meant it is no longer possible to host the 30th AFC Congress in person in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Dec. 9, and the meeting will instead be held online, it added.

AFC said in a separate statement that it had received notification from Al Wahda of United Arab Emirates that the club is unable to travel to Qatar to compete in the AFC Champions League West Zone matches where they currently occupy second place in Group A after several members of the club tested positive for COVID-19.

AFC said the request for a postponement of the Group matches cannot be accommodated because of the advanced preparations in which many teams have already traveled to Qatar for the competition, to be restarted on Sept. 14.

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