China has withdrawn as host of the women’s Olympic football qualifying tournament at the Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus outbreak and the event next month has been moved to Sydney, Confederation said Asian Football (AFC).
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Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo Japan Asian Qualifications Final Round – Group B was originally scheduled to take place in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the virus, between February 3 and 9, but was moved to Nanjing last week due to concerns player safety. The Chinese Football Association (CFA) has now completely withdrawn its host seat.
The Australian Football Federation (FFA) has offered to intervene and is now expected to host the tournament featuring Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, and Thailand. The CFA said it was making the decision to withdraw due to the “current situation” of the coronavirus sweeping across China. So far, it is estimated that more than 2,000 people have contracted the virus. At least 56 people have died from the virus.
Chinese Health Minister Ma Xiaowei has admitted that the virus’s ability to spread appears to be increasing. The Chinese government has ordered the closure of a number of tourist attractions in an attempt to control the spread of the deadly virus that has infected hundreds of people across the country. A series of Lunar New Year festivities have been canceled in an attempt to contain the virus.
“The FFA is happy and willing to host this 2020 Olympic qualifier, and we look forward to welcoming the senior female PR national teams from China, Thailand and Chinese Taipei in February,” said the FFA president. Chris Nikou.
The safety of all players, officials and supporters are of paramount importance to the Australian Football Federation and the Asian Football Confederation, and we are confident that we will have a successful tournament here in Sydney.
“I would also like to thank the Australian government for its support in allowing the FFA to host this event in a short time.”
More details on the match schedule, kick-off times, ticketing and broadcast information will be announced soon, the FFA promised.