UAE see World Cup 2022 qualifiers postponed again due to coronavirus

New manager Pinto facing long wait for first game after taking charge in July

The Asian Football Confederation has postponed all men's qualifiers scheduled in October and November for the 2022 World Cup.

The AFC and world governing body Fifa issued a joint statement on Wednesday saying the delay is to protect the health and safety of all participants during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The games, that also act as Asian Cup qualifiers, will be rescheduled for 2021, although no new dates have been decided.

The UAE were due to play their remaining four Group G World Cup qualifiers in October and November, having already been rescheduled from their original dates in March and June.

Currently fourth in a five-team group, the UAE sit five points off leaders Vietnam, although they do have a game in hand over each of their rivals. They still have to play Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam at home, and Indonesia away.

It means new manager Jorge Luis Pinto faces a long wait before taking charge of a competitive game with his new side.

The Colombian replaced Ivan Jovanovic, who was dismissed in April having not taken charge of the first team for a single match.

Domestic leagues have resumed in China, South Korea, Japan and Australia but under strict health protocols.

There are 40 national teams involved in the second round of World Cup Asian qualifying, which had already been delayed in March and June as the pandemic spread across the region.

The top team in each of the eight groups and the four best runners-up will advance to the third stage of qualifying for Qatar 2022.

Japan leads group F with four wins from four games without conceding a goal. South Korea, a World Cup semi-finalist in 2002, are on eight points in Group H along with North Korea and Lebanon, a point behind leading Turkmenistan.

Australia leads Group B with four straight wins, two points clear of Kuwait and Jordan, and Syria has won five straight to lead Group A by eight points from China and the Philippines.