The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has submitted its official application to bid for the rights to host the ASEAN Zone for the 2021 AFC Cup group stage.

Amid the concerns surrounding the rising COVID-19 cases in some countries, the competition will be organised in a carnival format at a designated venue.

Image: http://www.fas.org.sg

This would be the second season of its staging in a similar format, last year.

It was successfully run by the AFC for its flagship club competition the AFC Champions League in Doha, Qatar, which involved 26 teams from the east and west zones.

A country that wishes to host must fulfill the AFC’s criteria and assessment in ensuring uninterrupted capabilities such as providing logistics requirements for the Video Assisted Referees (VAR) facilities, stadia, accommodation and medical infrastructures.

If the bid succeeds, Singaporean clubs Lion City Sailors and Geylang International would have the home advantage.

Lions City Sailors were drawn in Group H alongside Malaysia’s Kedah Darul Aman FC, Vietnam’s Saigon FC and the winner of the playoffs.

As for Geylang International, teams accompanying the club in Group I consist of Filipino runners-up Kaya FC-Iloilo and another Malaysian outfit, Terengganu FC. A team from Myanmar will join the group as Shan United or Ayeyawady United are still in contention to represent the country.

FILE PHOTO: aghdad Bounedjah (R) of Al Sadd vies for the ball with Ali Mosleh of Sepahan during the AFC Asian Champions League group D football match between Qatar’s Al Sadd SC and Iran’s Sepahan SC in Doha, Qatar, Feb. 18, 2020. Image: Xinhua

The 2021 AFC Cup group stage is scheduled to start from 14 to 20 May for South and East Zones, 23 to 29 May for the West Zone, and 22 to 28 June for the ASEAN Zone.

Each team from the ASEAN Zone will play three matches, followed by the semifinals on 10 August, and on to the final on 25 August.

The Zone’s winner will compete in the interzonal semifinals alongside winners from the aforementioned zones, in September 2021 that will culminate in the AFC Cup final on 26 November.

THE BRUNEIAN | KUALA LUMPUR

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