The remaining football matches in the 2020 OFC Champions League have been cancelled due to the border and travel restrictions caused by Covid-19.

The competition reached the quarter-final stage after pool play in February and March before the pandemic took hold.

The OFC Champions League playoff matches were due to be played in April and May but were delayed multiple times.

Clubs from New Zealand, Vanuatu, Tahiti, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia had advanced to the knockout stages.

The winner of this year’s OFC Champions League was set to attend the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar in December.

A further decision on any potential representative for Oceania at that event will be made once FIFA has released their decision regarding whether this year’s FIFA Club World Cup will proceed or not.

The Executive Committee also agreed to provide a financial provision of $NZ25,000 to each of the eight clubs who were in the playoffs but did not have the opportunity to advance in the competition due to the cancellation.

OFC placed all of their tournaments on hold on 9 March due to the coronavirus, and the health and safety of the football community in the Pacific remained a top priority, according to the organisation.

As a result of the cancellation, no winner would be crowned for the OFC Champions League 2020.

OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo acknowledged it was a disappointing situation.

“While we would all love to see our tournaments being played in the Pacific, we need to look after the long-term health of our community,” Castillo said.

“Covid-19 has presented many challenges to our organisation and I am really proud of how we have responded this year. We are continually doing our best to work with our Member Associations about how we can make a safe return to playing football in the future.”

The Executive Committee also agreed to cancel the inaugural OFC Youth Champions League that was scheduled to take place in January 2021.

OFC planned to operate tournaments from early 2021 but those proposed dates remained subject to change due to the fluid nature of the pandemic.

RNZ

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