AVC likely to cancel all 2020 competitions due to COVID-19 concerns
As the massive global Covid19 outbreak has brought Asian volleyball activities to a complete standstill with countries imposing tight air travel restrictions, AVC is poised to make a clear decision of cancelling all 2020 AVC indoor and beach volleyball competitions.
Cloud of uncertainty has loomed over the future of the AVC Championships since the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus has been first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Major competitions both indoor and beach volleyball events have been put on hold, making cancellation and rescheduling the only options left.
AVC has been closely following the pandemic of the novel coronavirus on a daily basis since the beginning of January 2020 and also is in active communication with FIVB and AVC Board of Administration in an effort of continuing its activities and competitions on schedule as many as possible.
However, the Covid19 has still spread with alarming speed, reportedly infecting over 12 millions and killing up to 550,000 as of July 9. With the strict safety measures of FIVB and IOC to safeguard the health of athletes, everybody involved at the competitions and the Asian volleyball community, AVC has come to a decision to cancel all 2020 AVC competitions when only 47 days are remaining ahead of the 3rd Asian U19 Beach Volleyball Championships, the first 2020 AVC event initially due to be held in Phuket, Thailand after cancellations and rescheduling.
FIVB General Director Mr Fabio Azevedo on July 8 chaired an online meeting attended by FIVB and AVC Executive Vice President Mr Essa Hamza, FIVB BA Member and AVC Secretary-General Mr Shanrit Wongprasert and Mr Luis Alexandre Pontes Rodrigues, FIVB Director for Asia and Oceania to share the latest situation updates and data regarding the Covid19 outbreak as well as discussing and studying the possibility of hosting the 2020 AVC competitions.
Regarding the meeting, it has been definitely accepted that the global Covid19 pandemic made a potential impact on hosting the 2020 AVC competitions. With Asian countries extending their lockdown restrictions, the quarantine measures and international airlines halting their flights, the AVC Cup for Men and Women, the Asian Men’s and Women’s Clubs Championships and all AVC Beach Tour events and Asian U19 Beach Volleyball Championships, which are supposed to take place between coming August to October, look difficult and are all likely to be cancelled.
At the same time, all 2020 Asian Underage Tournaments, the qualifications for the 2021 FIVB Underage World Championships, tend to shift the commencement owing to the grave Covid19 outbreak concerns.
It has also been agreed in principle that if situation returns to normal in the next few months, with countries lifting their lockdown restrictions and airports and transportation solutions implemented to ensure continuity of service, all Asian Underage Tournaments (Men’s U20, Women’s U19, Women’s U17 and Men’s U18) are likely to be held in either November or December 2020.
However, if things turn sour, with most Asian countries affected by the Covid19 outbreak continuing their lockdown restrictions which make host countries and participating teams unable to join the fray, AVC will postpone all Asian Underage Tournaments. The four AVC tournaments have been set to take place later between early January and February.
Meanwhile, the AVC General Assembly, which is due initially to be held in Bangkok in mid-October 2020, is also likely to suffer postponement and is due to take place in December 2020 instead, with specific date to be confirmed.