Koreas match moved to Shanghai after anthem row

BERNE, Switzerland Fri Mar 7, 2008 2:16pm GMT

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BERNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - World football's ruling body FIFA has agreed to a World Cup qualifier between North and South Korea being moved to China after a row over the playing of national anthems.

FIFA said the March 26 game, originally scheduled in the North Korean capital Pyongyang, would now be played in Shanghai with both anthems being played after the teams have lined up.

"This decision was taken today after the (Korean) associations...in the best interests of football agreed to the newly designated venue," FIFA said in a statement on Friday.

North Korea, still technically at war with its southern neighbour, had objected to the playing of the South Korean anthem in Pyongyang in the Asian zone round three qualifier.

The playing of both national anthems before international matches is stipulated in the World Cup regulations.

North Korea had called instead for a folk song treasured on both sides of the border, along with a joint flag used when they marched together at the Olympic Games.

The two sides, who have never previously met in this early stage of World Cup qualifying, will play again in the South Korean capital Seoul on June 22.

Seoul has in the past allowed the North to fly its flag and play its anthem when playing in the South.

(Editing by Trevor Huggins)

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