North Korea OK’d to host Malaysia, de­spite po­lit­i­cal ten­sion

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — North Korea has fi­nally been ap­proved to host a 2019 Asian Cup qual­i­fy­ing match against Malaysia fol­low­ing po­lit­i­cal ten­sions be­tween the coun­tries.

The Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion says the game can go ahead in Py­ongyang on June 8 af­ter the Malaysian soc­cer fed­er­a­tion con­firmed it was not sub­ject to “gov­ern­ment travel re­stric­tions.”

Diplo­matic ten­sions es­ca­lated amid in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s es­tranged half-brother in Kuala Lumpur. Both coun­tries im­posed travel bans on the other’s cit­i­zens.

The orig­i­nal March 28 qual­i­fier was post­poned and a neu­tral venue sought.

The game opens both teams’ pro­gram in a four-na­tion Asian Cup qual­i­fy­ing group that also in­cludes Le­banon and Hong Kong.

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