Malaysia match in North Korea postponed again over security concerns


A Women’s Asian Cup qualifier played in Pyongyang in April drew large crowds to the Kim Il-Sung stadium

“Geo-political tension” and “safety and security” concerns have led to Malaysia’s Asian Cup qualifier in North Korea being postponed a second time.

The match was first postponed following the murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother in Malaysia.

Police in Malaysia have named several North Korean suspects.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) had rescheduled the match for 8 June but has been “forced to reconsider” and has set a new date of 5 October.

Malaysia’s football chief had said he was worried players could be poisoned.

However, the AFC added that a decision on the venue will only be taken after “closely monitoring” other AFC fixtures due to be held in Pyongyang over the coming months.

North Korean side Kigwancha SC host Erchim of Mongolia in Pyongyang in an AFC Cup tie on 31 May, while six AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers take place in the capital city between 19-23 July.

Earlier in May, the Football Association of Malaysia lodged an appeal with the AFC, calling for a change in venue.

Its president, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, said: “According to the information I have received we need to bring our own food due to the possibility of sabotage.

“Another big concern is the issue of refereeing because if there are decisions going against the North Koreans, there is the possibility that the safety of match officials will be affected and that will surely put them under pressure.”

South Korea accuses the North of masterminding February’s murder of Kim Jong-Nam, which was carried out using a towel soaked with nerve agent at a Kuala Lumpur airport.

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