KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian football confederation has cancelled all matches in the AFC Cup 2021 ASEAN Zone – Groups G, H and I as well as the playoffs – because pandemic security controls have thwarted all efforts to find a suitable host for the centralised matches.

An AFC statement said:

As part of the AFC’s commitment to complete the AFC Cup 2021 and as approved by the AFC Executive Committee on July 5, 2021, the matches and groups of the AFC Cup 2021 across the remaining Zones will continue to maintain the overall structure of the competition giving due consideration to the existing format as well as the availability of centralised hosts in each Zone.

Therefore, the AFC Cup Knockout Stage Central, West and Inter Zone single-leg ties will continue to be staged as planned beginning with the Central Zonal Final between Uzbekistan’s FC Nasaf and FC Ahal from Turkmenistan, which is scheduled to take place on August 25, 2021, at the Markaziy Stadium in Karshi, Uzbekistan.

Similarly, the West Zonal Semi Final single-leg matches between Muharraq Club of Bahrain and title holders Al Ahed FC of Lebanon as well as Kuwait SC and Al Salt of Jordan will be held from September 20 to 21, 2021, with efforts currently ongoing to finalise the centralised host for the AFC Cup South Zone matches.

Meanwhile, the AFC Cup Knockout Stage draw originally scheduled for July 7, 2021, has been postponed tentatively to August 4, 2021.