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(LEAD) S. Korea, Syria will not play their World Cup qualifier in Macau

All Headlines 20:13 August 31, 2016

(ATTN: CLARIFIES 4th para, ADDS more info in paras 5-7)

SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Syria will not play their World Cup qualifier in Macau next week as previously scheduled, the football governing body here said Wednesday.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) said the 2018 FIFA World Cup final Asian qualifying round match between South Korea and Syria next Tuesday will not take place at Macau Olympic Stadium after the Macau Football Association and its Syrian counterpart failed to reach an agreement on details.

The KFA added the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is in talks with the Syrian Football Association to determine an alternate venue for the match. The exact location is expected be revealed no later than Thursday.

South Korea, ranked 48th in the latest FIFA world rankings, are scheduled to face No. 105 Syria next Tuesday. Because of the civil war, Syria had to stage their home matches at a neutral site, and Syria first picked Lebanon to host South Korea. However, on Aug. 23 they changed the venue to Macau, citing security reasons.

A KFA official said they are also trying to find out why Macau decided not to stage the match, and speculated that money may be the problem. Syria would have had to pay for security and the use of the stadium. They also needed to cover their own transportation and lodging expenses.

The official added if Syria can't find a new venue for the upcoming qualifier in time, they will be forced to forfeit the match by the AFC.

If Syria decide to hold the match in Lebanon again, the official said the KFA will likely oppose the decision because it's not easy to purchase a large number of airline tickets to the Middle Eastern country on such short notice.

The Taeguk Warriors were set to depart for Macau on Saturday, two days after they open their regional qualification round against China at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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