China to transfer hosting of World Cup qualifiers to Dubai

China will transfer its hosting of the remaining Asia group A football World Cup qualifying matches to Dubai due to COVID-19 controls, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) has said.

China will transfer its hosting of the remaining Asia group A football World Cup qualifying matches to Dubai due to COVID-19 controls, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) has said.

China was set to host matches between Maldives, Syria, Guam, the Philippines and China in Suzhou. The organisers had created a so-called sports bubble that would have allowed overseas players and officials into the eastern city without undergoing quarantine.

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However, the CFA said the city could no longer host the matches due to recent COVID-19 infections within the national football teams of Maldives and Syria. According to Chinese rules, players from those two countries would have to undergo quarantine and would not be able to participate in the games as scheduled, the CFA said.

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China is currently second in Group A and has three remaining games against the Maldives, the Philippines and Syria.

Only the winners of Asia's eight groups are guaranteed to advance to the next round of the region's preliminaries, along with the four runners-up with the best records.

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