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Coronavirus restrictions force postponement of FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Qatar

Coronavirus restrictions force postponement of FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Qatar
February 15, 2021

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has advised that qualifying matches for its Asia Cup in the Qatar capital of Doha - due to commence this week - have been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

With Doha was set to host matches in Groups A, B and E from Wednesday (17th February) until 23rd February new safety regulations imposed by the Qatari authorities have caused the postponement.

Being held during FIBA’s ‘February window’, the Qatari capital had originally been scheduled to hold matches in Group E, comprising Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the host country.

Doha was also then allocated Groups A and B.

The Philippines was originally scheduled to be host Group A, with the host country set to be joined by South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand while Group B - comprising Japan, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia and China - was to be held in Tokyo.

All three groups are now in jeopardy after Qatari authorities reimposed restrictions due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Indoor gatherings have been limited to up to five people and facilities such as indoor swimming pools have been closed.

FIBA is looking into alternative solutions for the three groups, including for the additional qualification tournament among the third-ranked teams in each group.

Matches in Group D and F will still take place as scheduled in Manama in Bahrain.

Group D comprises Lebanon, Bahrain, India and Iraq, while Group F is made up of Jordan, Kazakhstan, Palestine and Sri Lanka.

A Group C clash between Australia and New Zealand is also still set for this Saturday (20th February) in Cairns.

The top two teams in each group are due to advance to this year’s FIBA Asia Cup, with the third-place finishers competing in a final qualification round.

A total of 16 teams will contest the tournament in Indonesia.

The event dates were amended to avoid a clash with the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with the event now due to run from 16th to 28th August.

Confirming the postponement, the Lebanon-based FIBA Regional Office Asia advised “in order to finalise the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers, FIBA is currently looking into alternative solutions with potential hosts for the games of this window and for the additional qualification tournament among the third-ranked teams in each group.”

Image promoting the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers in Qatar courtesy of FIBA Regional Office Asia.

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