Chile calls off WC warmups after earthquake

Chile calls off WC warmups after earthquake

Published Mar. 2, 2010 2:28 p.m. ET

Chile canceled two World Cup warmup matches this week because of the earthquake that killed at least 700 people.

The South Americans were scheduled to play an unusual doubleheader on Wednesday in Santiago, facing North Korea and Costa Rica. Chile will be playing in its first World Cup since 1998. North Korea has also advanced to the tournament, which starts June 11 in South Africa.

Harold Mayne-Nicholls, president of the Chile federation, said soccer was a low priority in the face of the death and destruction.

"Football cannot remain apart from the catastrophe," Mayne-Nicholls said on the federation's Web site. "Nor can we be indifferent in the face of the pain and tragedy for thousands of Chileans.

"The prevailing interest now is to meet the urgent needs of our country," he added. "There will be time for football."