Asian Champions League games with Chinese clubs postponed

<p>
              People in protective suits screen travelers at a railway station in Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu Province, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. Hong Kong hospitals cut services as medical workers were striking for a second day Tuesday to demand the border with mainland China be shut completely to ward off a virus that caused its first death in the semi-autonomous territory. (Chinatopix via AP)
            </p>

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Asian Champions League soccer games involving Chinese clubs were postponed Tuesday because of the spread of a virus in the country.

The Asian Football Confederation announced the changes after hosting an emergency meeting of six national soccer bodies affected by the games involving four teams from China — Beijing, Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai SIPG and Shanghai Shenhua.

The first three rounds of group games in February and March were moved to April and May. The first knockout stage is also expected to be delayed, with last 16 games in June instead of May.

The one exemption is a Group E game on Feb. 18 in Thailand when Chiangrai United hosts Beijing. The Chinese team is in a training camp in South Korea “and may not need quarantine measures,” the AFC said.

“Chiangrai United have stressed that they will continue to work closely with the Thai government and medical officials to monitor the on-going and fast-moving situation,” the AFC said.

Health concerns already forced the AFC to move a women’s Olympic qualifying group from China to Australia, and postpone a men’s indoor soccer tournament in Turkmenistan.