Football: Internal problems lead to North Korea pullout from Thai King's Cup

China (in white) celebrate scoring their second goal against North Korea during their Group B football match of the AFC Asian Cup in Canberra on Jan 18, 2015. North Korea have withdrawn from a friendly tournament in Thailand next month because of int
China (in white) celebrate scoring their second goal against North Korea during their Group B football match of the AFC Asian Cup in Canberra on Jan 18, 2015. North Korea have withdrawn from a friendly tournament in Thailand next month because of internal issues arising from their early Asian Cup exit, the Thai Football Association said on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - North Korea have withdrawn from a friendly tournament in Thailand next month because of internal issues arising from their early Asian Cup exit, the Thai Football Association said on Wednesday.

North Korea had agreed to take part in the Feb 1-7 King's Cup along with arch rivals South Korea, Honduras and hosts Thailand.

But three Group B defeats by Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia and China in Australia resulted in a first-round exit and a swift change of plans.

"I can confirm that Honduras and Uzbekistan will play at the King's Cup," Thai FA president and Fifa executive committee member Worawi Makudi was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post.

"North Korea have withdrawn from the tournament because of internal problems after they were eliminated in the first round at the Asian Cup."

World governing body Fifa opened an investigation following North Korea's group stage exit at the 2010 World Cup after reports the team were penalised by their government. However, no wrongdoing was uncovered.