The Lion City Sailors will no longer play their upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup matches in Singapore.

This comes after the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced on Thursday (May 27) that it will withdraw as host for Groups H & I of the AFC Cup Asean Zone Group Stage.

The Sailors, who are in Group H, were initially scheduled to take on Vietnamese outfit Saigon FC, Indonesia’s Persipura Jayapura, as well as Malaysian side Kedah Darul Aman in Singapore from June 29 to July 5. 

Explaining the reasons for their withdrawal as hosts, the FAS said in a statement: “The FAS has been working with all parties to provide a safe environment for all participants of the tournament.

“However, the erratic COVID-19 situation regionally has made the inbound travel challenging for the overseas participating teams. In the interest of all the players, the officials and the local community, the FAS has decided not to host the AFC Cup 2021 Group Stage matches.”

Sailors chief executive Chew Chun-Liang said: “While we look forward to competing in this regional tournament, we fully understand and respect the FAS’ decision to withdraw as hosts for the AFC Cup games. We remain confident that the team will still be able to achieve their goals in the competition.”

A new venue for the Sailors’ AFC Cup games has yet to be confirmed.