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AFC confirms N. Korea's decision to pull out of World Cup qualifiers

15:05 May 16, 2021

SEOUL, May 16 (Yonhap) -- The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed Sunday that North Korea has withdrawn from Asian qualifiers for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

"The AFC has today confirmed the withdrawal of the DPR Korea Football Association from the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023," the association said on its website.

Earlier this month, the Korea Football Association (KFA) said its North Korean counterpart, known as the DPR Korea Football Association, had sent an official document to the AFC to express its intention not to participate in the second round of World Cup qualifiers to be hosted by South Korea next month.

The North reportedly cited fears of coronavirus infection among the reasons for its withdrawal.

The AFC then said it would try to convince Pyongyang to reconsider its decision, but the attempt appears to have been unsuccessful.

South Korea, which was scheduled to host North Korea, Turkmenistan, Lebanon and Sri Lanka in Group H matches, will play only three games as a result.

The AFC said it will announce further details on the standings in Group H.

In this file photo provided by the Korea Football Association, players from South Korea (in white) and North Korea (in red) acknowledge one another after playing to a scoreless draw in a World Cup qualifying match at Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang on Oct. 15, 2019. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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