India vs Qatar World Cup qualifier postponed due to coronavirus fears

India's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying game against Qatar, scheduled for March 26, has been postponed owing to coronavirus fears.

Igor Stimac

The Indian football team was scheduled to face Qatar in Bhubaneswar on March 26.   -  AIFF

The India men's football team's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying game against Qatar, scheduled to be held in Bhubaneswar on March 26, has been postponed owing to the coronavirus outbreak that has cancelled events across the globe.

A senior All India Football Federation (AIFF) official confirmed that the match has been postponed and that a new date will be given by the FIFA or Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The Indian team was supposed to begin its camp in Bhubaneswar next week, which has also been called off.

"For both FIFA and the AFC, the well-being and health of all individuals involved in football matches remains the highest priority, and as such, a formal proposal to postpone upcoming matches in the Asian FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers will now be shared with the relevant member associations," FIFA had said in a statement released on March 5.

The release added: "FIFA will continue to monitor the situation in relation to COVID-19 in cooperation with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the confederations and the member associations. Information on other international matches may be provided by the relevant confederation or member association."

India's friendly game away in Tajikistan which was scheduled to take place on March 31 has also been postponed due to the virus outbreak. Although the Blue Tigers lost their 2022 World Cup qualifier to Oman in Guwahati, they kept their chances alive after holding Asian champion Qatar to a goalless draw in Doha. But last-minute draws against Bangladesh and Afghanistan followed by a narrow 0-1 away loss to Oman put them out of contention for a next round berth.

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