AFF Suzuki Cup postponed until 2021

Fadhil Yunus

The Asean Football Federation (AFF) has recently announced that the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2020 will be postponed until next year due to ongoing concerns of COVID-19.

The ASEAN meet, the most prestigious football competition in Southeast Asia, has been slated to take place this November but the pandemic situation has led to the immediate postponement.

With the health and safety of the players, coaches, partners, the fans and the public a top priority, the AFF Suzuki Cup Task Force Committee held extensive discussions before reaching the decision.

AFF President Major General Khiev Sameth said, “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.” He said that the pandemic continues to pose enormous health, societal and economic challenges adding that the AFF top priority continues to be the health and safety of the football family and mitigating the impact of the pandemic.

“With the risk of the COVID-19 remaining high, the AFF finds itself in a situation where we cannot proceed safely with the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020,” he added.

File photo of Brunei Darussalam striker Shahrazen Said vies for the ball against Timor Leste during the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers. PHOTO: NFABD

“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, associations, players, coaches, official, media and partners. We would like to thank them for standing united with us in the fight against COVID-19,” Major General Sameth said.

Meanwhile, SPORTFIVE, the exclusive commercial partner of the AFF Suzuki Cup, supported the decision made by the AFF to postpone the tournament.

Asia Pacific President at SPORTFIVE Adrian Staiti said, “While we are disappointed that we are unable to hold the tournament this year, we will work closely with the AFF to monitor the situation and look forward to working with our partners to deliver a great tournament for the fans of ASEAN next year.”

Drawing a fan attendance of more than 750,000 for the 2018 edition, the risks and challenges in organising a mass event of this scale would be considerable in the
current climate.

The AFF will continue to work closely with the member associations and partners to monitor the situation and will provide updates on the 2021 tournament dates and details as soon as available.