The African Champions League and African Confederation Cup finals, due to take place in May, were postponed on Saturday because of the spread of the coronavirus, officials announced.
“The finals of the Confederation Cup and Champions League 2019/20 have been put on hold until further notice,” said a statement from the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The Cameroonian port city of Douala had been chosen to stage the Champions League final on Friday, May 29, at the recently built 50,000-seat Japoma Stadium.
The Confederation Cup final was to have been played at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Moroccan capital Rabat on Sunday, May 24.
“The new schedule will be communicated in due time after consultation with the various stakeholders,” added the statement by CAF, which had already postponed the semi-finals.
“CAF is monitoring the situation closely and working with the relevant authorities including the Wealth Health Organization (WHO) on the impact of the virus on the continent, and will announce developments to our competitions at the appropriate time.”
Home-and-away finals were ditched by CAF last year after the second leg of the Champions League final in Tunis was abandoned.
Cairo teams Al Ahly and Zamalek and Casablanca sides Raja and Wydad had reached this season’s two-leg Champions League semi-finals, scheduled for May 1/2 and 8/9.
Moroccan sides Hassania Agadir and Renaissance Berkane, Guinean club Horoya and Egyptian outfit Pyramids were through to the Confederation Cup semi-finals on May 3 and 10.
Single-match finals are a gamble in Africa as football supporters generally shun matches not involving clubs from their country.
Limited flights and the fact that most African football followers cannot afford the relatively high cost of travel within the continent are other negative factors.
The CAF Super Cup, an annual match between the Champions League and Confederation Cup winners, was launched in 1993 and small crowds attended matches in neutral countries.
Embarrassed by tiny turnouts, CAF gave home advantage to the Champions League winners from 1996.t