Football ‘unhappy’ at cancellation

Tuesday April 21, 2020 Written by Published in Soccer
The OFC Nations Cup which was to be played in Cook Islands is now cancelled. 20042024 The OFC Nations Cup which was to be played in Cook Islands is now cancelled. 20042024

A regional football tournament to be held on Rarotonga is now cancelled.

Oceania Football Confederation executive committee has agreed to cancel its Nations Cup 2020.

The qualifying stage event, scheduled to take place in Cook Islands last month was first postponed. Now it’s been called off entirely.

The decision was made in light of the complexities posed due to the coronavirus pandemic, said the confederation.

Pauline Dean, Cook Islands Football’s competition and club licensing manager, said they had been ready to host the tournament.

They were unhappy with the decision to cancel the tournament, but there was nothing much they could do.

“We were hoping the tournament would go ahead but given the circumstances, we can understand the decision to cancel the event,” she said.

“We were ready to host, we had prepared the logistics and everything. Now I will have to go and cancel all the services that we had booked for the tournament.”

The qualifying event was supposed to feature Samoa, Tonga, American Samoa and the Cook Islands competing against each other for the last spot in the OFC Nations Cup which is scheduled to be held in Auckland later in June.

Oceania Football in a statement said its 11 member associations had experienced challenging operating conditions recently and many of these countries are in lockdown.

There are also obstacles regarding international travel that makes the main tournament unplayable in the coming months and teams would not be able to adequately prepare.

The Nations Cup will not be moved to a new window as the priority for the regional body is to ensure the FIFA World Cup qualifying process can begin later this year and these matches must take place in the FIFA International Match Calendar.

Oceania Football general secretary Franck Castillo said the cancellation of the Nations Cup was a disappointing reality of the Covid-19 situation.

“While the Nations Cup is the flagship tournament for men’s football in OFC, the health and safety of the football community is our top priority,” Castillo said.

“With that in mind, it was only fair that our Executive Committee came to this conclusion as we continue our fight to stop the spread of coronavirus.”

OFC’s competitions department will continue to assess the tournament schedule for the rest of the year.

OFC announced on March 9 that all OFC football activities across the Pacific would be suspended until at least May 6.

This put a handful of OFC tournaments on hold, including the Champions League and the rescheduled OFC U-17 Women’s Championship.

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