Soccer: North Korea-Malaysia match to be played in June

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 15): The Asian Cup qualifier between Malaysia and North Korea, which was postponed last week due to strained relations between the countries, has been rescheduled to June 8, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on Wednesday.

Malaysia's Football Association had asked for the game to be moved away from Pyongyang under pressure from its government following the recent breakdown in relations.

AFC Secretary General Dato' Windsor John told a media conference in Kuala Lumpur that the match had been rescheduled and set a deadline of April 14 for a venue to be decided upon.

“The match is now confirmed to be played on June 8,” he said. "We have also told them (North Korea) to come back with a neutral venue, in the event the diplomatic situation is not solved.”

The two countries have become embroiled in a growing row after Malaysia accused North Korea of assassinating Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of Pyongyang ruler Kim Jong Un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb 13.

The two nations were due to open the final phase of qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup finals in United Arab Emirates with a Group B encounter at Kim Il Sung Stadium on March 28.