According to reports, North Korea has sent their notice to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announcing their withdrawal from the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.
After withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympic Games taking place this summer, they have now withdrawn from the second round of the qualifiers, which were set to take place in South Korea.
The main reason given for their withdrawal was due to the fears over the exposure that its players would have to the COVID-19 virus.
North Korea were in Group H together with Turkmenistan, Lebanon and Sri Lanka, and were set to go ahead with their qualifiers on May 31 until June 15 this year.
The matches had begun in September 2019 but were halted because of the COVID-19 outbreak, which shocked the world last year.
It is reported that the AFC will try to help North Korea reconsider their withdrawal and their decision to not travel to South Korea.
An anonymous official from the South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which deals with inter-Korean affairs has said that the officials still holds high hopes for North Korea to participate in these qualifiers, which will provide a great opportunity for sports exchange despite the bad times that both countries are going through.
He went on to say: “We will wait until the AFC completes its internal discussions and notifies our government of the final result.”
Author: Catherine Micallef