Football: AFC consider Malaysia appeal against playing North Korea match in Pyongyang

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary Windsor John has said they are considering an appeal from Malaysia over their Asian Cup qualifying match against North Korea in Pyongyang.
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary Windsor John has said they are considering an appeal from Malaysia over their Asian Cup qualifying match against North Korea in Pyongyang.PHOTO: AFP

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is considering Malaysia's appeal against having to play an Asian Cup qualifier against North Korea in Pyongyang next month, the governing body said on Wednesday.

Diplomatic relations between the countries had soured following the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February.

As tensions rose over Kim's killing, the Malaysian national team was barred from travelling to North Korea, preventing them from playing the match originally scheduled on March 28.

The AFC said on Monday that the postponed Group B match would be played on June 8 following confirmation from the Football Association of Malaysia that no government travel restrictions are in place. "I can confirm that we have received the appeal (from Malaysia) and we are considering it," an AFC spokesman told Reuters.

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On Tuesday, Malaysia's sports Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin expressed concerns over the safety of the national football team in Pyongyang. "The tension between Malaysia and North Korea may be over but the country (North Korea) is facing several issues involving the outside world," he told reporters.