The venue for next week’s AFC Cup final between North Korea’s 4.25 SC and Lebanon’s Al Ahed, has been changed to Shanghai instead of Pyongyang.
According to the Asia Football Confederation, the reason is due to sanctions affecting North Korea.
Only last week a highly anticipated World Cup qualifier was played between North and South Korea at the Kim Il Sung Stadium.
The only problem was that no fans or media were allowed in the stands, and the North Korean regime refused to broadcast the game live.
It was the first football match in the North in 30 years, the game ended in a goalless draw.
According to Euronews, the AFC statement said:
“The AFC made the decision based on considerations over the televising and promotion of the game so that it is viewable throughout Asia and the Middle East.”
The statement continued:
“The AFC, after careful consideration of the challenges affecting the commercial, broadcasting, media, accessibility and logistical arrangements, is compelled to assign the Final Match to be played in a neutral venue.”
The statement also clarified further reasoning behind the decision.
“Due to the existing sanctions in place affecting DPR Korea, the AFC has been advised by its commercial rights partners of the challenges in enabling among other matters, the production and broadcast delivery of the Final match.”
The North Korean Football Federation may face further possible sanctions due to the strict conditions faced by opponents South Korea in an officially sanctioned FIFA game.
The Chinese Football Association has confirmed that Shanghai will host the AFC final match on November 2nd.
ℹ ANNOUNCEMENT: #AFCCupFinal between 4.25 SC 🇰🇵 and Al Ahed 🇱🇧, scheduled to take place on November 2, 2019 in Pyongyang, will now be played in Shanghai.
More details: ⬇https://t.co/a3wxMs84IX
— AFC Cup (@AFCCup) October 22, 2019