Several Chinese national team players to miss Olympic qualifier amid coronavirus outbreak

Yahoo Sports
At least two key Chinese players will not travel to Australia for Olympic qualifying matches due to potential exposure of the coronavirus. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
At least two key Chinese players will not travel to Australia for Olympic qualifying matches due to potential exposure of the coronavirus. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

The Chinese Football Association already relocated its Olympic women’s soccer qualifying event to Australia amid an outbreak of the coronavirus in the country, however several players will skip the trip next after having spent time in Wuhan, according to The Guardian.

Per the report, midfielders Wang Shuang and Yao Wei will not travel with the team to Australia for the qualifying matches. They were reportedly among a group of players who traveled to Wuhan — where the outbreak started — for China’s spring festival. Wang, per the report, has played in more than 100 matches for the national team. Both started in every match for China at the World Cup last summer, too.

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More than 4,500 cases of the virus have been confirmed and at least 106 people have been killed in the country so far, according to the New York Times. Cases have been reported in several other countries around the globe, including in Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, the United States, several countries in Europe and others.

Due to the outbreak, the Asian Football Confederation moved the Group B of the third round of Olympic qualifying matches to Sydney from Wuhan, as the city is still essentially on lockdown. Group B, which includes China, Australia, Thailand and Taiwan, is set to take place from Feb. 3-9. The top two teams from the group will advance to take on the top two teams from Group A, which includes South Korea, Myanmar and Vietnam. North Korea was originally in the group, but withdrew. The top two teams from those qualifiers will advance to the 2020 Olympics in Japan this summer.

The outbreak has caused trouble for several notable sporting events, both in China and in the rest of the world. A boxing qualifier in Wuhan was canceled last week and rescheduled to Senegal next month, and a regional Fed Cup qualifying event was moved from China on Sunday. A pair of Miami (Ohio) basketball games were postponed this week due to fears of the virus at the university, too.

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