October 23 – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has moved the AFC Cup 2019 final from Pyongyang in North Korea to Shanghai.
Scheduled to be played November 2, the final is between North Korea’s 4.25 SC and Al Ahed from Lebanon.
Pyongyang has just hosted the first ever North vs South Korea World Cup qualifying fixture in the capital. The historic match ended in a scoreless draw at the Kim Il Sung Stadium but was not without controversy. Dubbed the ‘ghost derby’ by players, it was played in the absence of fans or media.
South Korea’s players later said the encounter was physically brutal and included abusive language.
The AFC said the rationale for switching the AFC Cup Final was based on the advice of its Commercial Rights Partners of the challenges in enabling among other matters, the production and broadcast delivery of the Final match – a key event in the AFC calendar.
An AFC statement said: “One of the key objectives in the AFC’s Vision and Mission is to foster development and promotion of football and to ensure the game is available to all in the Continent and beyond, which is also outlined in Article 2 of the AFC Statutes.
“In keeping with its objectives, the AFC, after careful consideration of the challenges affecting the commercial, broadcasting, media, accessibility and logistical arrangements, is compelled to assign the Final Match to be played in a neutral venue.”
The AFC said it had informed clubs and member associations of the switch. The host stadium is still to be confirmed.
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