Vietnamese team and captain Nguyễn Văn Quyết (right photo) celebrates their second AFF Cup victory in 2018. Việt Nam will defend their title this November. Photo thethaovanhoa.vn
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam will defend their ASEAN Football Federation Cup later this year after the regional football governing body (AFF) has announced the tournament will go ahead.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the AFF biennial tournament is still scheduled to take place between November 23 and December 31.
There were fears the event would be postponed as many worldwide sporting tournaments including the Tokyo Olympics have to be rescheduled due to novel coronavirus.
However, AFF on Thursday said AFF Cup would maintain its plans to start in November.
“These are unprecedented times for the whole world, including our football family and communities, but we will get through it together,” AFF President Khiev Sameth was quoted as saying on the website aseanfootball.org.
"However, getting through this will require all of us to play our part.
“Since the risks of transmission of the disease at mass gatherings such as football events are high, we have made a considered decision to delay and whenever necessary to cancel our competitions to minimise social contact with the objective to protect the safety and health of our football family and communities.”
AFF will monitor the pandemic and may change their decision if necessary.
Sameth added: “As the situation is constantly evolving, we will keep a close watch and will not hesitate to make changes to our schedule if necessary. In every decision we make, AFF will always prioritise the well-being of our football family and communities.”
In 2018, Việt Nam won their second AFF Cup trophy after beating Malaysia 3-2 on aggregate in the two-leg final.
Other AFF tournaments are also scheduled to go ahead.
They are the AFF U15 Girls’ Championship in Indonesia in September, the AFF Futsal Championship, AFF Futsal Club Championship and AFF Beach Football Championship, all in Thailand, later this year.
Four events that will be postponed to later dates this year are the AFF Women’s Championship in the Philippines in May, the AFF U18 Women’s Championship, AFF U16 Boys’ Championship and AFF U19 Boys’ Championship, originally scheduled in Indonesia in June, July and August, respectively.
Meanwhile, the first ever ASEAN Club Championships which is due to be held from May-November this year has now been rescheduled to 2021. VNS