Perth's Champions League match in doubt over Korea's new coronavirus fears

Tony Popovic Source: Getty Images

There is a question mark hanging over Perth Glory’s March 4th AFC Champions League clash with Ulsan Hyundai as the K-League moved on Friday to postpone games from the opening round of the domestic season due to a sudden spike in coronavirus cases.

An outbreak in the southeastern city of Daegu had tripled the country’s cases to 156 on Friday morning, a jump of 52, with 41 of the new cases coming from Daegu - just 74 km from Ulsan - and the surrounding region of North Gyeongsang Province.

After a meeting held at Korea Football Association House in Seoul, the K-League announced that the opening matches of the 2020 K-league season for Daegu FC and Pohang Steelers would be played later in the year.

“We all recognize the gravity of the situation regarding COVID-19," said the K-League's secretary general, Han Woong-soo.

"Home openers for teams in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province will be played at later dates."

Ulsan’s opener at home to FC Seoul on Feb 29th, is currently set to go ahead, but given the city's proximity to Daegu, the centre of the outbreak, that situation could change.

The K-League announced it was keeping a close eye on the situation regarding the remaining games of the opening round amid concerns that the virus is spreading across the country.

Should Ulsan’s league game be postponed then it would be unlikely that Perth would play in the city just four days later.

Perth’s debut in the continental competition has already been affected by the virus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

The Asian Football Confederation decided to postpone the first three games in the group stage involving the four Chinese teams to April and May.

Glory, who lost their first ever AFC Champions League game 1-0 at FC Tokyo earlier this week, are scheduled to take on Shanghai Shenhua on April 22nd and 28th.