Empty stands in Korean game make Infantino angry

Empty stands in Korean game make Infantino angry
Fifa president Gianni Infantino

Seoul - The last time the two sides met in a World Cup qualifier was in Seoul 10 years ago, when the North lost 1-0 before accusing South Korea of poisoning their players' food ahead of the match



Published: Tue 15 Oct 2019, 10:18 PM

Last updated: Wed 16 Oct 2019, 12:21 AM

Long-time foes North and South Korea played a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, their first football match in the North in 30 years, but no fans were allowed in the stands and Pyongyang refused to broadcast the game live.
There were also no goals.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino was at the match and said in a statement that he was "disappointed to see there were no fans in the stands".
"We were surprised by this and by several issues related to its live broadcast and problems with visas and access for foreign journalists," he said, adding that, for Fifa, freedom of the press and freedom of speech were paramount.
The last time the two sides met in a World Cup qualifier was in Seoul 10 years ago, when the North lost 1-0 before accusing South Korea of poisoning their players' food ahead of the match.
Reclusive North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 civil conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
National anthems of both sides were played before the match kicked off at the Kim Il Sung Stadium and the flags of the two countries were on display, the South's Korea Football Association (KFA) said.
Two earlier qualifiers that had been scheduled for North Korea had to be switched to Shanghai after Pyongyang refused to raise the South's flag or play its anthem.
North Korea had promised to provide footage of the match on DVD, the South's unification ministry said.
One South Korean user of the South's Naver web portal said: "How do we co-host the Olympics when we can't even watch one single qualifier?"
Another said: "Best if we win, but it's also fine to lose. I just hope our players return safely."
 


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