Soccer-AFC moves World Cup qualifying group out of China
By Michael Church
HONG KONG, May 31 (Reuters) – Group A matches of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Asia will be played at a neutral location as yet undetermined after the China Football Association announced the matches could no longer be played in China, the Asian Confederation of China said. soccer.
The remaining matches involving China, Maldives, Syria, the Philippines and Guam were to take place in a bio-secure bubble in Suzhou that would have allowed foreign players and officials to enter the Chinese city without quarantine.
But a string of positive tests among players from Syria and the Maldives meant teams heading to China should have self-isolate upon arrival in the country.
The Asian Football Confederation today decided to move the remaining centralized Group A matches from the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar and 2023 AFC Asian Cup China to the People’s Republic. from China to a neutral location, which will be decided and announced in the coming days, ”the statement said.
“The decision was made in view of the increasing challenges faced by several participating teams in traveling to the People’s Republic of China.”
The AFC said it was working with the China Football Association and other participating nations as well as potential venues to determine the next course of action, with the aim of completing the qualifying schedule.
The Chinese Football Association had said in an earlier statement that the matches would be played in Dubai.
Only the group winners are guaranteed to qualify for the next round of the Asian preliminaries with the four finalists among the eight groups with the best records.
China resumed their qualifying schedule on Sunday after 18 months without a competitive game due to the ongoing pandemic as Li Tie’s side beat Guam 7-0 in the former midfielder’s opener. Everton as a coach.
Nearly 30,000 hungry football fans were in Suzhou for the game and saw Spain striker Wu Lei and naturalized striker Alan Carvalho score twice.
(Report by Michael Church, edited by Christian Radnedge)
((Michael.Church@thomsonreuters.com; +852 9023 4874;))
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