On the evening of March 5, FIFA and AFC announced the official proposal of a plan to postpone the second qualifying matches for the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Asia due to the influence of the Covid-19 epidemic.
FIFA’s statement said that FIFA and AFC had met at their headquarters in Zurich (Switzerland) to discuss the situation in Asian football. For FIFA and AFC, the health of individuals participating in matches remains the highest priority, and thus, an official proposal to postpone the upcoming matches in the 2022 World Cup/2021 Asian Cup finals has been shared with relevant member federations.
FIFA and AFC will provide the latest information on this plan in the coming days after consulting with AFC member federations. Another discussion is the 2020 Olympic women’s football play-off between Korea and China, as well as the Asian Futsal Championship in Turkmenistan 2020.
According to FIFA, it will continue to monitor the situation regarding Covid-19 through contact with the World Health Organization (WHO), alliances and member federations. In particular, information on other international matches may be provided by the relevant federation members.
As such, the statement means that FIFA and AFC will be waiting for the meeting with the Western member federations in Malaysia on 7 and 8 of March, before making an official announcement. According to the proposal above, FIFA will postpone the second qualifying matches of the 2022 World Cup in Asia in March and June 10 and 11.
According to Asian media, the above statement has received the support of AFC member federations, of which the possibility of delay is almost certain. Because in the upcoming meeting, the football federation Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, UAE (Middle East countries affected by the Covid-19 epidemic) will agree to the delay. Most recently, the UAE Football Federation has issued a “ban” of fans to the field at all domestic leagues to avoid spreading Covid-19.
According to the schedule, the UAE will welcome Vietnam on June 9 in the last match of Group G. Previously, the teachers and coaches of Park Hang-seo will take guests in Malaysia and meet Indonesia on June 4.