Women’s football and boxing Olympic qualifiers moved from Wuhan

VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05: Tobin Heath #17 of the United States of America scores her goal against goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori #18 of Japan in the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Tokyo 2020 qualifying events in boxing and women’s football scheduled for next month in Wuhan, China will be moved due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Wuhan was to host teams from China, Chinese Taipei/Taiwan, Thailand and Australia in Asian women’s football qualifiers from February 3 to 9. The Asia/Oceania boxing qualifiers were to take place from February 3 to 14.

The Asian Football Confederation said in a statement: “At the request of the Chinese Football Association, the AFC is now moving the 2020 Olympic Asian women’s football Group B qualifying matches from Wuhan to Jiangning Sports Training Center in Nanjing, in China’s Jiangsu Province.”

Chinese Taipei/Taiwan’s football association said yesterday that it had asked the AFC to change the location due to fears for the health of its players, and said it would not participate otherwise.

The International Olympic Committee boxing task force said it “noted today’s (Wednesday’s) decision of the Local Organising Committee to cancel the Asian/Oceanian Tokyo 2020 boxing qualifying event which was due to take place in Wuhan from February 3 to 14, 2020, amid growing concerns in relation to the coronavirus outbreak reported in the city.”

Earlier this month, the Philippines offered to host the event. Ed Picson, the secretary general of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, said: “I know there are countries that have offered to host the event in lieu of Wuhan, China. We are also thinking about hosting it and I already sent feelers to the IOC task force regarding this. We feel that with the recent staging of the SEA Games we have the mechanics in place and the people who can perhaps undertake the hosting.”

The moves come amid growing concern over the coronavirus. China has confirmed it can be transmitted between humans. There have been 540 cases and 17 deaths so far.