SYDNEY: Organisers of the women's Olympic soccer qualifying tournament, which quickly relocated to Sydney after the deadly Coronavirus outbreak, were forced to switch matches due to quarantine restrictions imposed on Chinese players.
More than 200 people in China have died of the influenza-like virus, with nearly 6,000 infected after it appeared late last year in Wuhan, central Hubei Province.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization said the outbreak was a public health emergency.
The Chinese women's team arrived in Australia on January 29 and quarantined in Brisbane even after February 5. According to the Chinese Football Association, neither of the players has been positive for the virus.
They were originally scheduled to play their first match against Thailand on February 3, but the organizers said on Friday that they will now play their first match on February 6.
The Australian Football Confederation said in a statement on Friday that an additional day is already scheduled for February 12, when China will play against Australia.
"As always, the health of all participants, from players and officials to fans and contractors, remains the first priority," said James Johnson, CEO of the Football Association.
"This new coordination allows us to organize these matches with this priority in mind, and we now hope to welcome all teams and organize a successful tournament."
Many other international sporting events, including boxing championships and the qualification of the basketball for this year's Tokyo Olympics, have been cancelled, postponed or transferred from China.
The four-team championship which includes China, Australia, Taiwan and Thailand was transferred from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, to Australia by the Asian Football Confederation.
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