Theweekendleader

nCoV effect on Oly football qualifiers: Matches re-shuffled

Sydney

31-January-2020

Women's Olympics football qualifying matches have been shuffled due to quarantine restrictions on China's players in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that led to the meet being moved to Sydney.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has moved the four-team tournament comprising China, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand from Wuhan that is the centre of the outbreak.

FFA Chief Executive James Johnson said he was very grateful to all parties for working together to reach a positive solution.

"FFA very much appreciates the collaborative approach displayed by everyone to re-schedule the Olympic Qualification tournament.

"I'd like to thank the CFA for their understanding and cooperation, despite the difficult situation their team and staff have found themselves in since arriving in Brisbane.

"FIFA, AFC and the clubs have also been extremely flexible and supportive of the changes to the match schedule," he was quoted as saying by www.ffa.co.au.

"As always, the health of everyone involved, from players and officials to the fans and contractors, remains the number one priority.

This new format allows us to stage these matches with the priority in mind and we now look forward to welcoming all teams and hosting a successful tournament."

China's women's team arrived in Australia on January 29 but have been placed in quarantine in Brisbane until after February 5 and according to Chinese Football Association, none of the players have tested positive for the virus.

China were initially slated to take on Thailand on February 3. They instead now play on February 6.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the new coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency after the death toll in China rose to 170, with more than 7,800 cases confirmed in almost 20 countries.

A group of 15 experts announced the global alert almost one week after its first declaration when the organization assured the outbreak had not reached the status of a global epidemic.IANS