On Monday, Asia’s football governing body, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed that the quarter-finals will be single-leg, home and away leg format won’t be followed this time due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Due to the travel restrictions across the continent and to ensure the safety of the players who are a part of this competition, it became necessary to reduce the travel restrictions to the utmost.
After this decision, the quarter-finals and the semi-finals won’t be played in a similar home and away leg manner but instead, a centralised venue will be decided for the East and West regions. The bidding process has been started for the hosts for the AFC Champions League final held on 23rd November. Earlier, a two-leg final was scheduled between 21st and 27th November.
The AFC also confirmed that the next edition of the AFC Champions League and Asia Cup in 2022 will also have a centralised venue with a single leg knockout format.
The pandemic has again caused serious damages to yet another sporting event and the governing body was forced to either cancel or reschedule the games. The competition was also halted for six months in 2020 when the pandemic broke out.
The AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup Indonesia 2022 and the U20 Women’s Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 have also been scrapped and these two competitions will be held in 2024. Furthermore, AFC Women’s Futsal Championship Kuwait 2020 and the AFC U20 Futsal Asian Cup 2021 have also been cancelled. This implies that even the national competitions have also been affected.