HONGKONG (Reuters) – Macau have decided not to send their team to contest the second leg of the World Cup qualifying first-round match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday due to security concerns.
The Macau Football Association issued a statement on Facebook on Saturday saying it had asked FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation to switch the match to a neutral venue but that request had yet to be accepted.
“Due to the recent terrorist attack in Sri Lanka and for the sake of the team’s personal safety, we have been in contact with FIFA, AFC and Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) to discuss and negotiate that this match to be played in neutral country,” the statement said.
“MFA will have to put our players’ personal safety as a priority. And, in the view of the fact that we cannot guarantee the safety of the team while they are in Sri Lanka and we cannot afford to take the risk to put our players’ lives in danger.”
Suicide bombers killed 257 people in attacks across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
Macau hosted Sri Lanka in the first leg of the qualifier for the 2022 finals in Qatar on Thursday, with the former Portuguese enclave securing their first ever World Cup qualifying win thanks to a second-half goal from defender Filipe Duarte.
(Reporting by Michael Church, editing by Ed Osmond)