The Women’s Asian Cup was thrown into turmoil on Sunday when hosts India were kicked out of the tournament after a COVID-19 outbreak meant they were unable to field a team for their Group A match against Taiwan.
Regulations require coaches to name a minimum 13-player squad for each game and India’s inability to do so caused the game at Navi Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium to be canceled.
Thomas Dennerby’s side have been kicked out of the competition with all their results nullified.
“The inability of India to participate in the match ... triggers Article 6 of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 regulations,” the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said in a statement.
Article 6 states “all participating member associations undertake that their participating teams shall play ... all of their matches in the finals until elimination.”
India, hosting the event for the first time since 1989, are now out of contention, but the AFC said the tournament would continue as scheduled.
All India Football Federation president Praful Patel said that the team were “heartbroken.”
“We are as disappointed as probably the entire nation would be right now with this unwarranted situation,” Patel wrote on Twitter. “However, the players’ health and well-being are of paramount importance to us & it cannot be compromised under any circumstances.”
India’s opening draw with Iran has been canceled, effectively turning tomorrow’s match between Taiwan and Iran into an eliminator for a place in the quarter-finals.
China on Sunday became the first team to book their place in the quarter-finals with a 7-0 win over debutants Iran in their Group A game in Mumbai.
China backed up their opening 4-0 win over Taiwan with a comprehensive victory, Wang Shuang celebrating her 27th birthday by scoring another two goals.
The margin of China’s victory over Iran means that Taiwan need just a draw in their final group match against Iran to advance.
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