Kuala Lumpur: The final of an Asian club tournament has been moved from Pyongyang to Shanghai, football officials said on Tuesday, a week after North and South Korea played out a surreal World Cup qualifier in an empty stadium.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said it had been “compelled” to shift the November 2 AFC Cup match between North Korea’s 4.25 SC and Al Ahed from Lebanon to a “neutral venue” due to logistical and other issues.
Its statement did not mention the inter-Korean showdown in Pyongyang but said that commercial partners had warned of challenges in broadcasting the highly anticipated final of Asia’s second-tier continental competition.
Last week’s match — a historic encounter between two countries still technically at war — took place with no live broadcast and no foreign media in attendance, and with Fifa president Gianni Infantino one of just a handful of spectators.
Infantino said he was “disappointed” after attending the match and “surprised” by the absence of fans and lack of media access.
Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min described the game, which ended 0-0, as “very aggressive” and one South Korean official likened it to warfare.