September 5 – With Myanmar’s army and Buddhist extremists having allegedly stepped up a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim-minority Rohinga, Kyrgyzstan has scrapped its home game against Myanmar in qualifying for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup over “security concerns.”
A spokeswoman for Kyrgyzstan’s football federation announced that the game, which had been scheduled for today, “was cancelled according to the decision of Prime Minister Sapar Isakov and because of the potential threat of a terrorist act.”
In a short statement published to its website the AFC said: “The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has been informed by the Football Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic that the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic has advised them that the AFC Asian Cup 2019 Final Round Group A qualifying match between Kyrgyz Republic and Myanmar should not take place in Bishkek tomorrow (Sept 5) due to increased security concerns.”
“The AFC has decided to postpone the match following this advice to protect safety and security which can never be compromised and will now discuss the situation with the relevant AFC Committees.”
Reports suggest threats were made against the Myanmar players by extreme elements within Kyrgyzstan, whose population is 70% Muslim.
At least 87,000 Muslims have arrived in Bangladesh after fleeing clashes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, according to the UN – and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that the death of hundreds of Rohinga over the last week constituted “a genocide.”
The head of Kyrgyzstan’s football federation, Semetei Sultanov said the match may be held in another country.
Given the current situation, it seems highly unlikely a Muslim country will be willing to host the qualifying match.
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