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Asian Football Update – The Return Of Football

Football Asia brings you a round up of some of the football leagues in Asia with regards to when football will be returning. The world has been starved of live football at a time when people all over the world are spending more time at home and more time watching TV. Football fans are desperate for leagues to resume so they can get their fix of live games on TV even if they go can’t go to watch the games live.

Good news on Friday the 8th of May with the return the football in Korea as Jeonbuk Motors played against Suwon Bluewings in the K League. This was the first competitive game in Asia since football stopped due to the Coronavirus with the K League now back in full swing. Jeonbuk won 1-0 with the wining goal being scored by 41 year old Korean football legend Lee Dong-Gook.

Thailand have already confirmed a return to football in September even though the virus in Thailand is pretty much under control. This decision was made in part to be cautious about another outbreak of the virus but mostly for strategic reasons. Thai football had long wanted to follow the European schedule, which would also eliminate a large portion of the rainy season and so used this break to manufacture the new season start dates, which could become permanent.

Malaysia remain much of an unknown but it seems at best they would start in September and finish the league in one month and then in October go into the Malaysian Cup which, traditionally always starts in October. If this does happen they would restart next season as normal in February and not follow Thailand’s lead. There is a good chance that the Malaysian season could be cancelled altogether. 

In Japan things also remain a bit of an unknown as the virus as reared its ugly head again and so the lockdown has been extended another month. At present there is no official news of when football will start back but the J League announced a while ago it will definitely not be before the middle of June. The J League has also said that they will introduce the 5 substitution rule with teams being allowed to make 5 substitutes but only during 3 stoppages so two would need to be double substitutions. In cup competitions going to extra time a 6th substitute will be allowed.

Vietnam will be the next country to resume competitive football with the V League announcing the National Cup preliminary round to be played on the 24th of May with the 1st round to be played on the 30th of May. They have not announced when league fixtures will resume as they are in discussions with the clubs on how best to make the new season schedule. Obviously there is less time to play the remaining fixtures and they are taking time to get the schedule right as to not force teams into too many games in short periods of time. National team get togethers also need to be taken into consideration but one thing is for sure and that is football in Vietnam is not far away.

One of the smaller footballing nations in Asia is Cambodia. The league there is on the rise with the U22 national team recently doing well, showing the quality of football is improving in the small nation. The Football Federation of Cambodia have tentatively said that the league will resume on the weekend of the 6/7th of June. However, the government has been extremely cautious as the health care system in Cambodia is not as advanced as it is in other Asian countries and so they are less prepared to deal with a serious outbreak of the virus.