The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Monday decided to postpone three of the Philippine Azkals' FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022/AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 matches due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) scare.
The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) in an advisory said the following games are cancelled following the consultation with AFC member associations:
- March 26, 2020 - Philippines vs. Guam
- June 4, 2020 - Philippines vs. China PR
- June 9, 2020 - Philippines vs. Maldives
The postponed games will be set to a later date upon further discussion between FIFA and AFC officials.
The PFF also said member associations can still hold the matches during the FIFA International Match Window, but subject to approval of FIFA and AFC.
"FIFA and the AFC will continue to assess the situation in relation to COVID-19 and will decide whether further changes to the schedule of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022/AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 qualifying matches are required, always with the aim of protecting the safety and health of all individuals involved," PFF said.
"PFF exhorts the general public, all football stakeholders and fans to remain vigilant and take all necessary safety precautions amidst the current COVID-19 situation," it added.
The Philippine Azkals are currently in third place in Group A with seven points, behind Syria who has 15 markers and China who has seven points.
The top two squads in each group will move on to the third round of the FIFA World Cup qualifying and will book them a ticket in the Asian Cup 2023.
On the status of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Monday that there are 24 confirmed cases.
The number of deaths due to the virus in the country remained at one -- a 44-year-old Chinese male who was the first death outside China. — BAP, GMA News