China will play its first “home” match in the World Cup 2022 Asian qualifiers final round in Doha, Qatar because of COVID-19 limitations, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on Friday.
The decision to play the match against Japan on September 7 in a neutral venue was made because of the difficulties looked by the Chinese Football Association (CFA) in organizing its home matches considering travel limitations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the AFC said.
“The AFC is now working in close partnership with the CFA, the Japan Football Association as well as the Qatar Football Association to ensure the safe passage and wellbeing of all stakeholders,” it said, adding that venues for the leftover AFC Asian final round qualifiers will be communicated in due course.
Prior to the match against Japan, China is scheduled to play Australia in an away match on September 2. Nonetheless, Australian media has announced that the match venue may change to Doha after the Australian FA couldn’t get the important player quarantine and travel bubble exclusions from governments to permit the qualifier to happen in Sydney.