The ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) has appointed Singapore as host for this year’s postponed AFF Championship after the island city-state had beaten Thailand by six votes to three in Tuesday’s hosting rights decider. The biennial tournament is set to become the biggest event hosted by Singapore since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the nation’s officials eager to see whether Singapore is ready to host more events of similar scale in the future.
The 2020 edition of the AFF Championship, postponed by a year due to the pandemic, is set to be hosted in three Singaporean stadiums – the National Stadium (pictured in this article) which will host Group A, the Jalan Besar Stadium which will host Group B, and the Bishan Stadium which will host matches that the aforementioned two couldn’t.
While the usual format of the AFF Championship which has been in place since 2018 sees teams going home and away for their group and knockout matches, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the AFF to appoint a host nation to ensure that all games will be played within a safe bubble.
The likes of Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam have offered themselves to host the 2020 tournament, but ultimately it was decided that both Singapore and Thailand were the only countries deemed safe enough to hold this year’s AFF Championship. A vote was then taken on Tuesday to decide who will host the tournament, which Singapore won convincingly.
“We are delighted to announce Singapore as the host country of the upcoming AFF Championship,” said AFF President Major General Khiev Sameth, as quoted from the federation’s website, “With our overriding priority being the health & safety of everyone involved, in the end this was the deciding factor when assessing the bids. With this decision made, we can focus our efforts on working with the Football Association of Singapore to ensure that the event is staged safely and securely and also that it brings to life the joy of football and the passion of the ASEAN fans.”
Lim Kia Tong, the president of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) had this to say, “We are humbled to have been chosen by AFF as the centralized host for the prestigious AFF Suzuki Cup starting in December. We are undoubtedly thankful for this golden opportunity and the trust placed in us by AFF. The hard work starts from now and we will do everything in our power, working closely with AFF as well as with the Singapore government, which is unflinching in their support for the bid, and other authorities to ensure a safe and secure event for all the participants, officials and the ASEAN football fans.”
The upcoming edition of the AFF Championship will start on December 5th 2021 while the tournament’s final will be played on New Year’s Day, January 1st 2022.