Beijing, Jan 26 (IANS) The Chinese Football Association (CFA) confirmed on Sunday that next month’s Tokyo Olympic women’s football qualifying matches would be moved from China to Sydney in Australia due to coronavirus outbreak concerns.
“In view of the outbreak of nCoV across China, after negotiations with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the CFA decided not to host the qualifying matches to ensure the health of all athletes, coaches and working staff of participating teams and the successful running of important Olympic qualifications,” said China’s football governing body, according to Xinhua.
The Chinese central city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first reported in late December, was originally scheduled to host all matches in Group B of the 2020 Olympic women’s qualifiers from February 3 to 9, with China, Australia, Chinese Taipei and Thailand included in the group.
With the situation aggravating, the AFC on Wednesday decided to move the qualifying matches from Wuhan to Nanjing, Jiangsu province.
However, Chinese authorities reported that 31 cases were confirmed in Jiangsu province by Saturday, with seven coronavirus patients found in Nanjing city.
“According to the assessments of the AFC, Australia will host all the Group B matches of the 2020 Olympic women’s qualifiers in Sydney, and the time schedule will remain the same,” the CFA added.
The AFC women’s football qualifiers for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo consist of two groups, with South Korea hosting Vietnam and Myanmar in Group A.
The top two teams from each qualifying group will advance to a play-off round to determine which two Asian teams will join hosts Japan at the Games.