The Confederation of Asian Football (AFC) has announced that North Korea has pulled out of the 2022 World Cup qualification. “The AFC confirms that the DPR Korea Football Association has withdrawn from the Asian qualifiers,” the AFC said in a statement on Sunday.
Pyongyang has not given any official reason for the tournament’s withdrawal from the qualifier next month. The Football World Cup is to be held in Qatar in November-December 2022.
According to South Korean media reports, North Korea has taken this step due to concerns over Corona. There have been no qualifiers in Asia since November 2019 due to the outbreak of the virus and in order to reduce the possibility of travel when matches resume, the AFC decided to hold all group matches in one place in the second round qualification. is.
The AFC said it will refer North Korea’s withdrawal to governing body FIFA, with a decision on how the country’s exit from the competition will affect the group standings to be announced in due course.
The decision also means that North Korea will miss out on the 2023 Asian Cup, to be held in China, as qualifications for the World Cup and the continental tournament are combined.
In Group H qualifications North Korea was in fourth place with three games remaining, level on eight points with Lebanon and South Korea and one behind leader Turkmenistan. Only the group winners are guaranteed a place in the third round of qualification, scheduled to start in September, along with the four best runners-up.
South Korea was to host North Korea, Turkmenistan, Lebanon and Sri Lanka in Group H matches from June 3 to 15 in Goyang city, north of Seoul.