N Korean women team to skip soccer competition in S Korea

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, file photo provided by the Korea Football Association, South and North Korean, wearing red uniforms, players play during their Asian zone Group H qualifying soccer match for the 2022 World Cup at Kim Il Sung Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea. The South Korean soccer association said Friday, Oct. 18, it has requested that North Korea be punished for blocking rival fans and media from attending a World Cup qualifier between the countries at an empty stadium in Pyongyang. (The Korea Football Association via AP, File)

North Korea won't send its women's soccer team to a regional competition to set to take place in South Korea in December

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea won't send its women's soccer team to a regional competition in South Korea in December amid strained ties between the two countries.

The East Asian Football Federation said Wednesday that North Korea informed it in mid-September that it won't take part in the 2019 EAFF E-1 championship in the southeastern city of Busan.

"We feel that North Korea is not participating in the event due to a complicated reason (caused by politics). I think it is something the North Korean football officials cannot handle by themselves," Park Yong Soo, the EAFF general secretary, said.

South Korea's soccer association said it also confirmed North Korea's decision when association officials visited Pyongyang earlier this month for a men's World Cup qualifier match between the two Koreas. Korean Football Association officials said North Korea gave no reason for deciding not to send a women's team.

The development is yet another sign of deteriorating sporting ties between the two Koreas amid lack of progress in a broader global diplomacy on North Korea's nuclear program.

North Korea blocked fans and international media from attending the World Cup qualifier at an empty stadium in Pyongyang. There was no live broadcast of the match, which ended in a scoreless draw. FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he was "disappointed."

South Korea's soccer association later sought a sanction for North Korea, sending a letter to the Asian Football Confederation and arguing that North Korea failed to uphold rules requiring host nations to grant visas and entries for traveling supporters and media without discrimination.

Sports exchanges often mirror the status of political ties between the two Koreas, which remain split along the world's most heavily fortified border for about 70 years.

Last year, athletes from the two Koreas walked together during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea and fielded a joint team in some events as their relations improved ahead of the start of the nuclear diplomacy. But North Korea boycotted the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Summer Olympics, both held in Seoul.

___

More AP soccer https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

You may also like these

Boca, River draw 2-2 in first leg of Libertadores...

Nov 11, 2018

Boca Juniors and River Plate drew 2-2 Sunday in the delayed first leg of the Copa Libertadores final

Emotional funeral for Sala held in his Argentine...

Feb 16, 2019

Family, friends, supporters and former teammates paid tribute to striker Emiliano Sala in his...

China hopes teenager could become first male...

Jan 27, 2017

In China, the women have enjoyed all the success in tennis, winning Grand Slam titles, Olympic gold...

World Cup spy: Honduras accuses Aussies of clumsy...

Nov 14, 2017

Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto has accused Australia of an "embarrassing" espionage attempt after...

After getting Australia to Russia, coach's future...

Nov 15, 2017

Ange Postecoglou ensured Australia qualified for the World Cup, yet the coach is not quite sure if...

Sign up now!