AFC Women's Asian Cup: India’s match against Chinese Taipei called off due to COVID-19 outbreak

As a result of the COVID-19 situation, India failed to adhere to the AFC guidelines of having a minimum of 13 players to continue the game.

AFC Women's Asian Cup Trophy; Credit: AFC

In a major blow, India’s second group stage AFC Women’s Asian Cup match against Chinese Taipei was cancelled on Sunday after several positive cases of COVID-19 were detected among the team. As a result of the COVID-19 situation, India failed to adhere to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) guidelines of having a minimum of 13 players to continue the game. In a statement, the AFC said given the situation, Article 4.1 of the tournament rules comes into effect. “The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed that the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ match between Chinese Taipei and India at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai could not be played today,” the AFC said in a statement.

“Following several positive cases of COVID-19, India failed to name the required minimum of 13 players for the Group A match against Chinese Taipei. In accordance with Article 4.1 of the ‘Special Rules Applicable to AFC Competitions during the COVID-19 pandemic’ (Special Rules), India was therefore unable to participate in the match and the full provisions of Article 4.1 will apply,” it added.

“Further, the inability of India to participate in the match also triggers Article 6 of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ regulations,” it further read. The AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ will continue to be played as scheduled with the Group winners, runners-up and the two best third-placed teams qualifying to the Quarter-finals. The matter will now be referred to the relevant AFC Committee(s) in accordance with the applicable regulations, according to the statement.

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The girls are heartbroken, says AIFF President

AIFF President Praful Patel in his statement said: “We are as disappointed as probably the entire nation would be right now with this unwarranted situation. However, the players’ health and well-being are of paramount importance to us, and it cannot be compromised under any circumstances. I wish all the infected players and team officials a swift and full recovery. They will be well supported by the AIFF and AFC.”

“Our support for the Blue Tigresses will continue, and we will work to ensure that our players come back stronger. The AIFF also thanks the fans and is grateful for their continuous support in the joint endeavour to take Indian Football Forward Together.

“The team is heartbroken, and I request all to respect their feelings and sentiments. I am proud of the great promise the team showed in their first match, and am confident that they will prove their mettle in the near future,” Mr. Patel, also a FIFA council member stated. 

“This is not the end of the world. The promise on display in the first match against IR Iran was there for all to see, and am confident they will bounce back from this temporary setback.”

“Unfortunately, this happened to us despite the best measures put in place, and it is sheer bad luck that it happened to us. Let there be no fingers pointed at any. We need to understand this is a pandemic situation, and no bubble is foolproof around the world.”

Sportslumo Desk

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