Soccer-ASEAN club competition launch pushed back to 2022

By Michael Church
·1-min read

By Michael Church

HONG KONG (Reuters) - South East Asian football officials have delayed the launch of a new flagship regional club competition until 2022, the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) said on Thursday, with the prospect of a congested calendar next year prompting the decision.

The ASEAN Club Championship (ACC), which was due to feature 12 teams from around the region and promises a first prize of $500,000, was slated to kick off earlier this year but plans were put on hold as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After initially shifting the event to 2021, the AFF has now decided to delay the competition further as a result of the postponement of other events, including Asia’s World Cup qualifying campaign for Qatar 2022 and the AFF Suzuki Cup.

“Several countries will have additional local issues to contend with, which may add further to the congestion,” AFF president Khiev Sameth said in a statement.

“With all this in mind, together with the overall uncertainty that still remains about any dates in 2021, we have decided with our partners to move the launch of the ACC to 2022.

“The ACC is a key pillar of our regional development strategy and we’ve agreed that a move to 2022 is the right decision at this stage," he added.

“As we begin to regroup, it became clear that having to launch the ACC in a much-reduced format, within what we know will be a heavily congested season, would not be in the best interests of the event or our members.”

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Ken Ferris)