Hosts India are officially out of the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup after a major COVID-19 outbreak forced Sunday's match against Chinese Taipei to be cancelled, the Asian Football Confederation said in a statement on Monday.
This also means that India are out of contention for the 2023 FIFA World Cup, for which the ongoing tournament was a qualifier. All matches of India are now cancelled and considered null and void, which means the first match - a goalless draw against Iran - has been wiped out from the competition. All points and goals in those matches shall not be taken into consideration when determining the final rankings.
To ensure uniformity for all third-placed teams in all groups, the AFC has said the results of the matches in Group B and C between the first, second and third-placed teams against the fourth-placed teams will not be counted.
On Sunday, the hosts couldn't field 13 players in their matchday squad - the minimum required for a game to go ahead as per AFC rules.
Speechless, heartbroken and sad https://t.co/iaRm15wEke
- Dalima Chhibber (@DalimaChhibber) January 24, 2022
The events surrounding the cancellation were shrouded in mystery. Speculation of a COVID-19 outbreak had been growing from a couple of hours before the scheduled start of the match but the first official disclosure of any problem came with the announcement of the match being cancelled at 7.38 PM, eight minutes after the kick-off time.