There will be no more Fifa World Cup qualifiers played in Asia this year, the Asian Football Confederation confirmed in a statement.
“In light of the current Covid-19 situation in many countries, Fifa and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have jointly decided that the upcoming qualifying matches for the Fifa World Cup Qatar 202 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023, originally scheduled to take place during the international match windows in October and November 2020, will be rescheduled in 2021,” they said.
“With the aim of protecting the health and safety of all participants, Fifa and the AFC will continue to work together to closely monitor the situation in the region and to identify new dates for the respective qualifying matches.
“Further details on the new dates for the next round of qualifying matches for the Fifa World Cup 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup 2023 will be announced in due course.”
Hong Kong were set for a trip to Iran and hosting Iraq in October before an away game against Bahrain in November.
These games were originally scheduled for earlier in the year.
It is unlikely that Mixu Paatelainen’s representative team, whose last game was at the EAFF Finals in South Korea last December, will play at all this year. The resumption of the local league season is also uncertain.
Aside from the World Cup Qualifiers the immediate future of the rescheduled AFC Champions League and AFC Cup have been thrown into further doubt.
The continental cup competitions had been rearranged to begin in host cities across the region in the coming months.
Both region-wide tournaments had begun earlier in the year before pandemic control measures saw them called to a halt.