The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will be postponing football matches for the upcoming Asian qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2022, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. The matches were originally scheduled to take place during 23 to 31 March 2020 and 1 to 9 June 2020.
However, FIFA said in a press statement that the matches may still be played if the safety of all individuals involved meets the required standards, and the member associations involved in the matches mutually agree to proceed. All matches will be subjected to approval from both FIFA and AFC. FIFA added that both organisations will continue to assess the COVID-19 situation, and will decide whether further changes to the schedule of Asian FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers are required.
According to the Football Association of Singapore, the Singapore national football team had upcoming matches in March and June against teams from Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Uzbekistan.The association added that the team's upcoming qualifying matches for the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup 2023 will also be postponed.
FIFA and AFC are not the only ones to have their events affected due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Last week on 6 March, Singapore Sports Hub cancelled the upcoming performances of Disney on Ice: Live Your Dreams, which was originally scheduled to start on 13 March.
According to Singapore Sports Hub's website, the cancellation is due to the "growing global threat" of COVID-19, as well as public health concerns and increased travel restrictions in the region. The Singapore Sports Hub also said that all who have purchased tickets via Sports Hub Tix or APACTix will get a full refund. The cancellation came just days after the Singapore Sports Hub said it will be proceeding with the show.
A spokesperson from the Singapore Sports Hub told Marketing that the show was initially "scheduled to go ahead as planned" on 4 March. Prior to the show's cancellation, the Singapore Sports Hub said it put in place precautionary measures such as conducting temperature checks, increased the frequency of venue cleaning, as well as intended to make hand sanitisers widely available. Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Disney on Ice's event organiser, Feld Entertainment, told Marketing that shows in Hong Kong and Thailand will also be cancelled. She added that the company has plans to bring the show back to Singapore next year. When asked about the impact on sponsors for Disney on Ice, the spokesperson said the show's cancellation applies to sponsorship agreements as well, and everyone would be released from any obligations associated with it. Feld Entertainment did not comment on Marketing's queries about who the sponsors are.
Global events have been getting cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This week, interactive media festival South by Southwest (SXSW) was cancelled for the first time in 34 years, due to the growing COVID-19 cases worldwide. The organisers said they are exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants.
Last month, organisers of Mobile World Congress also cancelled the event in Barcelona after an exodus of firms. Organiser GSM Association said in a statement that the event was axed because the global concern regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, "making it impossible" for the GSMA to hold the event. Facebook has also cancelled its F8 Facebook Developer Conference in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to F8's official website, the physical event will be replaced with locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content.
SXSW to be cancelled due to growing COVID-19 fears
Mobile World Congress 2020 cancelled after firms pull out amidst virus outbreak