(Reuters) - Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chiefs have cancelled their annual awards ceremony, which was scheduled to take place in Qatar in December, because they say it would be inappropriate in the wake of the deaths caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The prestigious ceremony includes the award for the Asian Player of the Year and would have coincided with the staging of the Club World Cup in Qatar.
“Thousands of lives have been lost not just in our continent but also across the world (during the pandemic),” AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa said in a statement.
“This has brought us to consider the appropriateness of a glittering night of celebration especially when we need to show to all those who have passed away - and their grieving families and friends - respect and sympathy at this most difficult of times.”
More than 43,000 people have died in Asia after contracting the novel coronavirus.
Professional soccer in Asia is slowly returning after the shutdown and the AFC has scheduled the resumption of the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign for early October.
Repoorting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford