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FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Qatar called off

Decision made following instructions from Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health; Fate of Amir Cup competition hangs in the balance.
The Group A, B and E matches of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, scheduled to be held in Qatar from Wednesday, have been cancelled. Photo: FIBA Asia Media

The matches in Group A, B and E of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, set to begin in Qatar on Wednesday, has been cancelled.
The decision was taken on Friday evening following the directives of Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MOPH). Qatar Basketball Federation (QBF) General Secretary Ali Saeed Al Malki confirmed the development.
“All preparations for the competition were complete, but we were instructed by the MOPH to not go ahead with it. So, unfortunately, we had to cancel it. FIBA Asia is yet to decide when games in the new window will be played. We’re awaiting further instructions from the Asian body,” he told Inside Qatar.

Qatar was supposed to host 12 national teams, in three groups, for a one-week-long event. While South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines were in Group A, Japan, Chinese Taipei, China and Malaysia were seeded in Group B. Qatar’s Group E had Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia in it.

FIBA Asia Executive Director Hagop Khajirian, in a letter to the 12 national federations, said it would take at least ten days for new dates to be determined.

Qatar Basketball Federation General Secretary Ali Saeed Al Malki said the decision was taken following directions from the Ministry of Public Health. Photo:m QBF Media

“We’re happy to state that in these difficult circumstances we’re experiencing, and just within hours after the forced cancellation of the Qatar bubble, four national federations already expressed their support to FIBA by proposing to host one or more groups in their country to play the cancelled games,” the letter said.

“Fixing the dates of the ‘window to be created’ under the unexpected and unordinary situation will still need about ten days to be finalised. However, we’ve decided to have these games in the Philippines, where SBP will host two groups, and in Lebanon, which will host the third one,” the letter stated.

Meanwhile, a decision by the QBF is pending regarding the Amir Cup competition, which was set to kick off on the 24th, after the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.

“We’ll have another round of meetings with MOPH on Sunday and a final decision, whether to go ahead or postpone the tournament, will be taken only then,” Al Malki told Inside Qatar.