|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. (/File/Screen Grab photo from theguardian/ AP)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] A football governing body here revealed on Monday that North Korea has expressed its intention not to participate in Asian qualifiers for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, set to take place in South Korea in June, according to a Yonhap report.
An official document to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) was sent by the Korea Football Association (KFA), it's North Korean counterpart, known as the DPR Korea Football Association (PRKFA) last Friday declaring its intent to stay away from the second round of World Cup qualifiers to be hosted by South Korea in June. The PRKFA reportedly cited fears of coronavirus infection among the reasons for its decision not to travel to South Korea next month.
The two Koreas belong to Group H in the second round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, together with Turkmenistan, Lebanon, and Sri Lanka. There are five nations in each of the eight groups, and the eight group winners and the four best runners-up will advance to the third round. Following the announcement, North Korea's participation in the remaining second-round matches drew media attention. The two Koreas played to a 0-0 draw at a virtually empty Kim Il Sung Stadium in Pyongyang on Oct. 15, 2019, in their first Group H match.