North Korea will likely not participate in the other group matches. © APA / afp / FABRICE COFFRINI
North Korea does not want its national soccer team to travel to South Korea for the upcoming 2022 Asian World Cup Qualifiers.
04. May 2021
A spokeswoman for the Federation Ministry in Seoul said on Tuesday that your agency has informed that the North Korean Federation has informed the AFC in a letter of the intention. The risk of infection due to the Coronavirus pandemic was too great and was said to justify it.
The AFC has reportedly asked the North Korean Federation to reconsider the decision not to participate in the games. The spokeswoman said the ministry is now waiting and monitoring the situation. North Korea’s move came a month after the reclusive country decided not to send athletes to the Tokyo Olympics, which is scheduled to begin on July 23. North Korea also justified this by the fact that the health risks for the athletes were too great.
South Korea hosts the matches
Due to multiple postponements in the World Cup qualifiers, the AFC decided with its member associations that the remaining second-round matches of the eight groups would be played in “central stadiums”. South Korea is scheduled to host the Group E meetings in June, in addition to South and North Korea, the group also includes Turkmenistan, Lebanon and Sri Lanka.
The two Korean teams split 0-0 in front of empty spectators in the first-leg match in Pyongyang in October 2019. The match was not broadcast on television, and North Korea did not allow fans to enter the Kim Il Sung Stadium. The South Korean Football Association later called for North Korea to be punished for holding the duel in front of the camera. The two teams still have a chance to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, eight points behind leaders Turkmenistan (9).