North Korea pull out of World Cup qualifiers

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North Korea have pulled out of subsequent month’s qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Asian Soccer Confederation mentioned Sunday.

“The Asian Soccer Confederation has at this time confirmed the withdrawal of the DPR Korea Soccer Affiliation from the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” the AFC mentioned in an announcement.

No causes got for the withdrawal however South Korean media reported earlier this month that Pyongyang had mentioned it might skip the qualifiers over coronavirus fears.

The Covid-19 pandemic has pressured many of the second spherical of Asia’s preliminary event for the Qatar World Cup to be postponed till June.

The AFC mentioned final month it might change the format of the tournaments so that every group of 5 nations would play in a single host nation.

South Korea was chosen because the centralised venue host for Group H, which is led by Turkmenistan and in addition included the 2 Koreas, Lebanon and Sri Lanka.

North Korea had been fourth in Asian qualifying Group H, however solely some extent behind Group H leaders Turkmenistan with three video games nonetheless to be performed earlier than their withdrawal.

The AFC mentioned a call can be made afterward the standings in Group H after referring the matter to FIFA’s organising committee for competitions.

The event doubles up as qualifiers for the 2023 Asian Cup, to be held in China.

Pyongyang’s determination to tug out comes almost a month after the nation mentioned it might not go to this yr’s Tokyo Olympics, citing issues over the pandemic.

North Korea was one of many first international locations to shut its borders greater than a yr in the past to guard itself from the virus that first emerged in neighbouring China.

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