AFC is full of fear and a growing voice saying Declare defeat

An unprecedented incident occurred in which North Korea declared “impossible” just five days before the opening of its home game. Reasoning is not a matter of natural disasters or recognition by everyone, but an epidemic of an opponent country that the international community does not take issue with.

Despite the unusual move, AFC is complying with North Korea’s intentions as much as possible. For now, the AFC will stage a match no matter what.

In an interview with AFP on the 22nd (Korea Standard Time), the Secretary-General of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Datto Windsor said that the North Korea-Japan match will be held as scheduled in a neutral area without cancellation or postponement.

North Korea, which lost 0-1 to Japan in the third Group C match of the 2026 World Cup Asian qualifying round at Tokyo National Stadium on the 21st, was now scheduled to return home to play the fourth away match against Japan at Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, on the 26th.

Initially, there were a lot of controversies over the planned opening of the Pyongyang home game, but the North Korean Football Association was poised to allow athletes, officials and reporters to enter the country. The Japanese national team also planned to move to China on Tuesday for acclimation training and then enter Pyongyang on Tuesday.

However, just hours before the kick-off of the third game against Japan, North Korea announced on the 26th that it would not be held, and AFC made it official.

“Japan’s ‘malignant infectious disease’ is being reported in North Korea,” Japan’s Kyoto News Agency said on the 21st. “It appears to be a quarantine measure to guard against streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STS) where the number of infected people is increasing in Japan.” North Korea was vulnerable to quarantine, and when COVID-19 began in China in February 2020 and spread around the world, the country closed its borders to survive. As a result, North Korean soccer has not participated in international competitions for more than three years and six months.

Against this backdrop, it turned out that North Korea even suggested that the fourth round should not be held in Japan.

Japan shook its hand. For their part, they are welcome to play an away game at home, but they had no choice but to refuse the offer.

North Koreans are restricted from entering Japan, but this game was a sports event, so they gave a special visa and allowed them to enter the country. The Japan Football Association believes that in order to play one more game in North Korea and Japan, the stay of a special visa must be extended, but it is difficult to do this right away.

The Japanese team eventually canceled all flights to Beijing on Tuesday, and decided to resume training in Chiba, near Tokyo, to maintain their senses. The team’s schedules were twisted.

Secretary-General John is in a position that AFC will come up with an alternative.

North Korea also stirred controversy last month and decided to play “home and away” against Japan in the final preliminary round of women’s soccer in Asia for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but failed to meet AFC requirements due to issues such as the use of artificial turf at Kim Il Sung Stadium in February. Eventually, just days before the home game, the North moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which takes more than 12 hours by plane from Kim Il Sung Stadium, and attached itself to Japan.

Again this time around, the North seems to want to host home games in West Asia, Southeast Asia or China, where it used to be its home ground. AFC is trying to accommodate any North Korean absurd acts in any way possible.

However, special measures such as forfeiture and disciplinary action against the North are reportedly still to be taken. As the North abruptly announced the cancellation of its home game, the reason attributable to the North is clear.

BY: 메이저사이트

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