February 22, 2024

North Korea withdraws from World Cup, but may still attend Beijing Olympics

North Korea likely abandoned soccer tournament due to high COVID-19 risk and low political incentive, experts say

North Korea officially withdrew from the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup 2023, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed on Sunday, eliminating a potential opportunity to resuscitate inter-Korean sports diplomacy.

Earlier this month, NK News reported that the DPRK indicated it would not participate in the World Cup Asian Qualifiers scheduled for next month in Seoul, citing COVID-19 concerns. South Korea’s unification ministry on Monday said that North Korea’s decision was now “final.”