NEWCASTLE, Australia - Asian Cup fans or players hoping to enjoy a dip in the sea at competition venue Newcastle will be flagged offside after beaches were closed due to a shark sighting.
"All Newcastle beaches remain closed due to safety concerns related to the presence of a large great white shark off our coastline," Newcastle council said on its official website on Thursday. "It is not safe for anyone to be in the water." Asian Cup-holders Japan played their opening game against Palestine in Newcastle on Monday, while Oman face Kuwait at the same venue on Saturday.
The beaches were closed last weekend after the first sighting of the five-metre predator.
According to local sea salts, however, it is the sharks that you cannot see that bathers need to be most afraid of, although a few grizzled surfers have ignored warnings to stay out of the water.
In true "Jaws" style, the shark - said to be "of a size that has not been seen before around Newcastle", according to local lifeguards - announced itself when its huge dorsal fin emerged from the water off the picturesque Merewether Baths on Saturday.
"It is unusual for a shark to stay around the same coastal areas for this many days in a row, and we would like to have at least a 24-hour period of no sightings before the beaches are reopened," the council statement added.