Soccer

Olympic women's soccer qualifiers moved out of Chinese city due to coronavirus concerns

AFP-JIJI

Women’s soccer qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympic Games will be moved from the Chinese city at the center of a virus outbreak to another location in the country, the Asian Football Confederation said Wednesday.

Wuhan was supposed to host China, Taiwan, Thailand and Australia for the Group B qualifiers Feb. 3-9, but they will now be held on the same dates in the eastern city of Nanjing, AFC said in a statement.

It said the change was proposed by the Chinese Football Association.

Nine people have died and at least 440 have been infected with the SARS-like coronavirus that has spread around the country, with the vast majority of cases reported in Wuhan.

A seafood market that sold wild animals is suspected to be the source of the outbreak.

Taiwan’s soccer association had warned earlier that it would withdraw from the qualifiers if they were held in Wuhan, stressing in a statement that “the safety of players is our top priority.”

The official Xinhua news agency had reported on Monday that the Chinese Football Association had no plans to move the games out of Wuhan.

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