- Justin Grimm
Corona Virus Causes AFC Cup Postponement
Image property of the AFC
The 2020 AFC Cup qualification match scheduled to take place in Ulaanbaatar on 5 February has been postponed because of the Corona Virus pandemic. It was announced by both Ulaanbaatar City and Taipower FC.
The postponed was caused by a ban on people from China entering Mongolia until the outbreak is resolved. This includes Taiwanese nationals. Likewise, the return leg in Taiwan on 12 February 2020 will also be postponed because of similar restrictions.
The AFC has announced that they will resolve the situation in due course but have not announced make-up dates or another resolution. Matches between Kyrgyzstan club Neftchi and Ahal FK of Turmenistan were also affected. In that situation, the AFC has disqualified Ahal because the team chose to not fly to the away match in Kochtor-Ata because of the outbreak.
The travel restrictions in Mongolia and Taiwan, which is expected to be in effect in Mongolia until at least mid-March, may have serious implications moving forward in the tournament. The winners of the East Asian matchup were set to face Kitchee FC of Hong Kong on 19 and 26 February. It is unlikely that a resolution to the UB City-Taipower series will be reached by that time. Even after a winner is decided (if both teams are not simply disqualified) travel to and from Hong Kong may also be restricted.
It is unlikely that a neutral host location can be found with the fear of the spread of the Corona Virus looming.
Surely Ulaanbaatar City, with the opportunity to participate in its first continental competition, are anxious at the prospect of losing that opportunity.
Mongolian Football Central will follow the situation.