Shin Man Gil, director of the National Team Competitions of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), shows the Chinese FC Beijing draw during the AFC Champions League football 2020 Official draw of the tournament for the group phase on December 10, 2019 at the AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP)
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Asian Champions League soccer games involving Chinese clubs were postponed on Tuesday due to the spread of a virus in the country.
The Asian Football Association announced the changes after six national football associations involving four teams from China – Beijing, Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai SIPG and Shanghai Shenhua – held an emergency meeting.
The first three rounds of the group games in February and March were postponed to April and May. The first knockout phase is also expected to be postponed, with the last 16 games taking place in June instead of May.
The only exception is a Group E game on February 18 in Thailand, in which Chiangrai United receives Beijing. The Chinese team is in a training camp in South Korea "and may not need quarantine," said the AFC.
"Chiangrai United has stressed that they will continue to work closely with the Thai government and medical professionals to monitor the ongoing and rapidly evolving situation," said the AFC.
Health concerns were already forcing the AFC to move an Olympic qualification group for women from China to Australia and to postpone an indoor soccer tournament for men in Turkmenistan.
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