Sydney will host the Matildas’ series of Olympic qualifying group matches against China, Taiwan and Thailand next month.
The Asian Football Confederation announced on Sunday night that the games would be moved from Nanjing due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
In the first of what could become an avalanche of rescheduling of sporting fixtures in China, the Group B games were originally moved from Wuhan – the source of the outbreak that has already caused 56 deaths – to Nanjing but will now take place in Sydney in February.
The announcement came after the Chinese Football Association withdrew as host and the AFC nominated Sydney as the replacement host after working with the Australian officials.
“The safety of all players, officials and fans is of paramount importance to Football Federation Australia and the Asian Football Confederation, and we are confident we will host a successful tournament here in Sydney,” Football Federation Australia chief executive Chris Nikou said in a statement.
“I would also like to acknowledge the support of the Australian government in enabling FFA to host this event at short notice.”
Due to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, February's #Tokyo2020 qualifiers have been moved from China to Sydney.
— Westfield Matildas (@TheMatildas) January 26, 2020
Australia will play China, Taiwan and Thailand in Group B, with match schedules, kick-off times and broadcast details yet to be formalised.
The winner of group B will play the runner-up of Group A, with the runner-up to play Group A’s winner.
Those playoffs will be home-and-away legs, with the two winners of the playoffs qualifying for the Olympics alongside hosts Japan.
The Group A games between South Korea, Myanmar and Vietnam are being played in South Korea.
North Korea pulled out of the group in December.
The International Tennis Federation also announced on Sunday it had moved the February 4-8 regional Fed Cup qualifying event featuring teams from China, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Uzbekistan from Dongguan to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
The top two teams will earn promotion to the Fed Cup playoffs in April.