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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Indonesia respects decision to postpone FIFA World Cup qualifiers

  • Nina Loasana

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 5, 2020   /   07:26 pm
COVID-19: Indonesia respects decision to postpone FIFA World Cup qualifiers Eggy Maulana Vikri (second left) of the Indonesian soccer national team celebrates with teammates after Indonesia’s 4-2 semifinal victory against Myanmar at the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines on Dec. 7, 2019. (Antara/Sigid Kurniawan)

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has delayed several qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Indonesia's matches to qualify for the soccer fiesta have been rescheduled as follows: 

·         Indonesia versus Thailand is rescheduled to Oct. 8 (initially on March 26)

·         Indonesia versus United Arab Emirates is rescheduled to Oct. 13 (initially on March 31)

·         Indonesia versus Vietnam is rescheduled to Nov. 12 (initially on June 4)

The AFC decided to postpone the matches after an emergency meeting with representatives from East Asian and Southeast Asian countries in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

"It's an unexpected and challenging time, but the AFC is working tirelessly to monitor the situation, including all sorts of travel restrictions, while continuously communicating with our members, leagues, and clubs," AFC secretary-general Dato Windsor John said in a written statement on Tuesday, as reported on the Soccer Association of Indonesia’s (PSSI) website, pssi.org.

PSSI chief Mochamad Iriawan said he respected the AFC’s decision to postpone the matches.

Read also: World Cup dream fades away as Indonesian soccer team loses again

Iriawan said he understood the current situation and appreciated the measures taken by the AFC to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

"Our national team had done some preparations last month, and they're planning to meet again [for training] in mid-March. But we understand the latest situation in the world that has affected soccer both directly and indirectly. In any case, humanity stands above everything," Iriawan said.

Aside from the World Cup qualification matches, the AFC has also postponed several qualifying matches for the 2020 Asia Champions League. However, the AFC is still aiming for the league’s final to be played as scheduled in November.