The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Sunday confirmed the withdrawal of North Korea from the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
In a brief statement, the AFC said the matter will be referred to the organising committee for FIFA competitions, and that further details on the standings of the Asian qualifying Group H, which includes North Korea, will be announced in due course, reports Xinhua.
Prior to their withdrawal, North Korea ranked fourth in Group H after five matches, just one point behind group leaders Turkmenistan. The group also includes South Korea, Lebanon and Sri Lanka. The group’s remaining matches will be played in South Korea in a centralised manner in June.
The move comes after North Korea said in April that it would not participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games this July-August due to concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic.