Political tensions force AFC to push North Korea vs Malaysia match to October

May 17 – The Asian Football Confederation, which for several weeks has been searching for a suitable venue for the postponed North Korea-Malaysia 2019 Asian Cup qualifier that was  delayed from the original March 28 date and rescheduled for June 8, has decided on a further postponement until October “because of the geo-political tension on the Korean Peninsula”.

The opening tie of the Asian Cup qualifiers was called off after Malaysia’s Football Association (FAM) asked for the game to be moved away from Pyongyang under pressure from its government following the breakdown in relations between the two countries.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries soured when Malaysia accused North Korea of assassinating Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of Pyongyang ruler Kim Jong Un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13.

In a statement, the AFC said the highly sensitive fixture “will now be re-scheduled for the next best available FIFA match-day which is Thursday, October 5, 2017.”

“Although the AFC had proposed on May 8, 2017 that the match – which was already postponed from March 28, 2017 – take place in the DPR Korea capital, recent developments have forced the AFC to reconsider the decision on the grounds of safety and security.

“The AFC will closely monitor the safety and security position in coming months as well as the AFC Cup match between Kigwancha SC (DPR Korea) against Erchim FC (Mongolia) to be played May 31, 2017 as well as the AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers – Group G to be hosted in Pyongyang, DPR Korea from July 19-23, 2017.”

“After those matches, the AFC will make a decision of the venue for the AFC Asian Cup Qualifier on October 5, 2017.”

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