October 28 – The AFC Cup 2019 Final between DPR Korea’s 4.25 SC and Al Ahed, from Lebanon, which was switched from North Korea to Shanghai, has been moved again. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, will not host the final on November 4, two days later than the originally scheduled November 2 date.
Kuala Lumpur Stadium will be the venue for the two first-time finalists.
The second switch of venue – it was originally scheduled for Pyongyang in North Korea before being moved to Shanghai – is primarily due to issues regarding visas.
The rationale for switching the AFC Cup Final from Pyongyang – which has just hosted the first ever North vs South Korea World Cup qualifying fixture but controversially was played in front of an empty stadium with all media excluded – was based on the advice of the AFC’s commercial rights partners on the challenges of enabling the production and broadcast delivery of the Final.
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.”
Malaysia is frequently used as a neutral venue for AFC nations drawn together in international competition but who, for geo-political or security reasons, cannot play each other in their home countries.
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