June 10, 2019 / 10:26 AM / 9 days ago

World Cup qualifier in Sri Lanka cancelled after Macau refuse to travel

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Sri Lanka’s World Cup qualifying clash with Macau, which was due to be played on Tuesday, has been cancelled after the team from the former Portuguese colony refused to travel to Colombo, the Asian Football Confederation confirmed on Monday.

Macau officials cited safety concerns when they announced on Saturday evening their team would not be travelling to Colombo for the game, having asked FIFA and the AFC to play the second leg of the clash in a neutral venue.

More than 250 people, including 42 foreigners, were killed in suicide bombings at hotels and churches in Sri Lanka on April 21, Easter Sunday. Islamic State claimed responsibility.

“The Asian Football Confederation have been informed today by the Macau Football Association that their national team will not travel to Sri Lanka,” read an AFC statement.

“The AFC will now refer this matter to FIFA and the appropriate AFC committees.”

The teams met last Thursday in Zhuhai in southern China in the first leg of the tie, which doubled up as a qualifying match for both the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar and the Asian Cup finals in China in 2023.

Macau defender Filipe Duarte scoring the only goal of the game.

More than 250 people, including 42 foreigners, were killed in suicide bombings at hotels and churches in Sri Lanka on April 21, Easter Sunday. Islamic State claimed responsibility.

Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Nick Mulvenney

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