Date fixed for Malaysia-North Korea clash, but AFC might pick the venue

The postponed North Korea-Malaysia tie originally slated for March 25 will now take place on June 8, but the venue is still undecided.

The Koreans have until April 14 to arrange a neutral ground and the match could still take place in Pyongyang if the relationship between the two countries improves before May 8.

But the Koreans will need to make arrangements for a neutral venue first, failing which the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will provide an alternative.

In the event North Korea fails to meet the April 14 deadline, AFC will determine the venue

"If the match does take place on a neutral venue, the return leg will also be played on a neutral ground because of sporting reasons," said AFC general-secretary Datuk Windsor John.

"In the event North Korea fails to meet the April 14 deadline, AFC will make arrangements and determine the venue ... as it was done for Syria, where we picked Malaysia as host for Syria's home matches."

Malaysia's visit to North Korea was put under the spotlight following the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, elder brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Kuala Lumpur in February.

The Malaysian government barred the Tigers from travelling to Pyongyang on March 6 and a travel ban between the countries was imposed days later as relationships soured.

Windsor explained that the North Korea-Malaysia tie must take place on June 8, before the second group match takes place on June 13, as the sequence of the qualifiers cannot be disrupted.

Malaysia play Lebanon on June 13, while North Korea take on Hong Kong.