The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced the rescheduling of two Vietnamese clubs’ games at the AFC Cup 2020, according to which they will play away games instead of home matches this month, for fear of the novel coronavirus.
“[The AFC] has been informed by the Vietnam Football Federation that the Vietnam Government will not be allowing the hosting of any sporting event in the country in February 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak,” the confederation said in an announcement published on its website on Thursday.
The Vietnamese government has told the public to shun crowds and restricted the organization of crowded events or festivals, in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.
Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City FC and Than Quang Ninh FC will have their fixtures in the group stage of the AFC Cup 2020 in February swapped following the rescheduling, the AFC said.
“Ho Chi Minh City’s first match against Yangon United will now take place in Myanmar on February 11 with the next match in Vietnam scheduled for April 29, 2020,” the confederation announced.
“Similarly, Than Quang Ninh will face Ceres Negros on February 25 in the Philippines before the two sides face off again in Vietnam on May 13, 2020.”
The AFC Cup is the Asian equivalent of the UEFA Europa League in Europe.
Last season, Hanoi FC made it to the inter-zone play-off final, where they drew 2-2 against North Korea’s April 25 at home and were held to a goalless away return leg, being eliminated on the away goals rule.
Vietnam has confirmed ten novel coronavirus cases so far, including seven Vietnamese, one Vietnamese American, and two Chinese.
Among them, one Chinese and two Vietnamese have fully recovered and been discharged from hospital as of Thursday.
The novel coronavirus, which first hit the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has killed 565 people and infected more than 28,200 globally as of Thursday.