On Monday, affected member clubs and associations of the AFC agreed to an alternative AFC Champions League 2020 Group Stage schedule in light of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.
Amid the escalating situation that has seen China, Japan and South Korea delay the start of their season, it is now clear that the original fixture list will not play out as planned.
The summit was attended by Member Associations and representatives of the teams present at AFC Champions League 2020.
The proceedings concluded with a decision to set new dates for matches that are unable to be played as per the original schedule.
- For un-playable matches in March and April: May 19-20 (Matchday 3)
- Matchday 4: April 7-8 to May 26-27
- Matchday 5: April 21-22 to June 16-17
- Matchday 6: May 5-6 to June 23-24
With the new dates cutting into the originally scheduled calendar for the knockout rounds, the change in schedule will naturally impact the latter stages of the tournament.
The announcement made by the governing body also hinted that matches should go ahead as and when they can if possible.
With various deciding factors such as travel restrictions and fan and staff safety determining the decision to postpone or not, it is not yet clear which teams will use which schedule.
In essence, the agreement of which dates are playable will be determined mutually by the respective clubs and associations scheduled to play each other on that date.
Should the original schedule be unplayable due to disruption caused by COVID-19 then the newly set out schedule will be used.
Further confusion is seemingly on the cards for the teams from Japan, with two of the three competing teams playing their home games at Tokyo 2020 venues.
The AFC has imposed a deadline of March 16th for the competing clubs to agree how they wish to proceed.Published 03 Mar 2020, 07:24 IST