On Thursday, the 2019 Asian Cup qualifier between Malaysia and South Korea was postponed for a third time.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) took this decision after Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a travel ban on its citizens visiting North Korea.
'The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hereby informs the public that all Malaysians are banned from travelling to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [North Korea] until further notice,' read a statement on Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Facebook page.
The match, part of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification, was originally scheduled to be played on March 28, but due to safety and security concerns, it was rescheduled to June 8, and then to October 10. (https://en.as.com/en/2017/05/17/football/1495042585_787600.html)
Regarding the new postponement, the AFC posted a statement on its official website confirming the travel ban. (http://www.the-afc.com/media-releases/dpr-korea%E2%80%93malaysia-afc-asian-cup-2019-qualifying-match-postponed)
'The AFC has today [Thursday] been informed by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) that the Malaysia Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a travel ban on Malaysian nationals visiting DPR Korea,' said the AFC.
'In light of this information, the AFC has postponed the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 final qualifying round Group B match between DPR Korea and Malaysia, which was scheduled to be played in Pyongyang on Oct. 5. The AFC will now refer the matter to the appropriate committees to decide on the future status of this match.'
AFC to refer the matter
On May, the AFC mentioned that the option of changing the venue would only be taken after ‘closely monitoring’ other fixtures in Pyongyang.
Earlier this month, the Confederation gave green lights to the North Korea-Malaysia qualifier after Lebanon played in Pyongyang without incidents or tragedies.
However, Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs decision comes ahead.
Now, the AFC declared that the matter will be referred to the appropriate committees to decide on the future status of this match.