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Football: Singapore withdraws as host for AFC Cup matches; FAS cites 'erratic' COVID-19 situation

Football: Singapore withdraws as host for AFC Cup matches; FAS cites 'erratic' COVID-19 situation

Dedy Gusmawan (right) of Indonesia’s PSM Makassar and Htet Phyoe Wati (second right) of Myanmar’s Shan United compete for the ball during their AFC Cup group H football qualification match at Madya Stadium in Jakarta on Feb 26, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Adek Berry)

SINGAPORE: The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on Thursday (May 27) said that it will withdraw as host for the group stages of the AFC Cup.   

In a media statement, FAS said it has informed the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) of its decision. 

The competition - involving Groups H and I of the AFC Cup - was due to take place between Jun 29 and Jul 6, involving  clubs from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. 

The Singapore sides in the tournament are the Lion City Sailors and Geylang International. 

"The FAS has been working with all parties to provide a safe environment for all participants of the tournament," said the association. 

"However, the erratic COVID-19 situation regionally has made the inbound travel challenging for the overseas participating teams."

It added: "In the interest of all the players, the officials and the local community, the FAS has decided not to host the AFC Cup 2021 Group Stage matches." 

Held annually, the AFC Cup is the continent's second-tier club football competition. 

Earlier this month, the AFC postponed Group J's matches, citing challenges caused by the pandemic. The matches were initially scheduled to be held in Hong Kong from May 14 to May 20, but will be played from Jun 23 to Jun 29, according to Reuters.

The AFC Cup was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic when quarantine regulations in many places made international travel almost impossible. 

Source: CNA/lk(rw)

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