Time now for 'This Week in Sports' and for that our Sports Editor Paul Neat is back in the studio.
Hey there, Paul.
Not long after sports stadiums here in Korea were opened up to a small percentage of fans, K League and KBO clubs can now sell tickets to a quarter of their stadiums' capacity. Paul, this is great news and further evidence of South Korea's exemplary COVID-19 quarantine measures.
Yes, absolutely. KBO and K League clubs can now allow 25% of stadium capacity in through the turnstiles, up from 10%. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism had set a limit of 25% for KBO and 30% for K League. However, after careful analysis of stadium seating layouts, for fans to remain safe and adhere to quarantine measures, the actual allowance will only be 25% in K League. The East Coast Derby takes place this weekend between Ulsan Hyundai and Pohang Steelers so the increase comes at a good time. But, the first game to benefit will be Seongnam FC vs Busan IPark this Friday night.
Some K League teams are involved in the AFC Champions League and I understand there is some news regarding how the competition will resume?
Yes, that is right. The ACL will pick back up again later this year after being postponed due to COVID-19. It was announced recently that Groups G and H, involving Suwon Bluewings and Jeonbuk Hyundai, will play their remaining group matches and possible Round of 16 ties in Malaysia over a two week period beginning October 17th. Group E and F, affecting Ulsan and FC Seoul, are yet to be decided but Korea was seen as one of the front runners.
Speaking of AFC, I understand there is some news regarding World Cup qualification matches involving teams in Asia?
Yes, that's right. AFC released a statement on Thursday to say World Cup and AFC Cup qualifiers scheduled for October and November have been postponed until 2021. South Korea were due to take on Turkmenistan and Sri Lanka in October, and then North Korea and Lebanon in November but these matches have been delayed until next year to "protect the health and safety of the participants".
Over to Europe now, the European Champions League returned recently, and I understand that a new winner is set to be determined under rather unusual circumstances?
Yes, in a World Cup-style tournament in a neutral venue in Lisbon. Portugal was chosen as it's seen as a "safe and low-risk COVID-19 destination". Some of the remaining round of 16 ties were played over this past weekend, and this week the quarter finals began. There is one quarter final match per day starting Wednesday up until Saturday. Paris Saint Germain beat Atalanta yesterday local time, tonight RB Leipzig take on Atletico Madrid, before Barcelona vs Bayern Munich and Manchester City vs Lyon on Friday and Saturday respectively. The semi finals will be played in the middle of next week before the final on August 23rd at the home of Benfica, the Estadio da Luz.
To baseball now, it was reported this week that a COVID-19 patient attended a KBO match. What's the latest?
Yes, a fan, who didn't know at the time they had COVID-19, attended the Samsung Lions vs Doosan Bears game at Jamsil on August 4th. CCTV footage showed that they wore a mask and didn't come into direct contact with anyone else. The stadium was disinfected and games have gone ahead as usual.
Other news is that KBO will be forced to play double headers during summer. This doesn't usually happen in July and August due to the heat but that will change this year. Double headers will start, if need be, from August 25th in response to around 11% of the schedule succumbing to the adverse weather.
Thank-you for that, Paul. We will see you next time.